16 March 2012

Warm French Lentils ... and Sausages

This week, Ina Garten is the 39th star of the 50 Woman Game Changers blog posts.  You can bet there will be a bunch of fun recipes! Ina Garten has become a fixture of the Food Network's star chef line up. Long before that, though, she established herself as a talented cook who had a knack for throwing a great dinner party and later, a purveyor of excellent gourmet foods at her shop Barefoot Contessa on the outer end of Long Island ... in The Hamptons. Her business savvy and easy way of presenting simple, delicious, basic foods in a tastefully elegant manner made her an attractive mark for the summer folk and entertaining crowd. The attention she got from her successful storefront brought her to the attention of the television foodie show production people and the rest is history. The storefront is gone at this point, but Ina has moved on to bigger and better things.

She's intelligent and likeable, makes foods that are not so unhealthy that we shake our heads, has an incredibly clean and crisp sense of style, produces cookbooks that are pleasing to the eye with recipes that are easily accomplished. Plus, she has not become so ever present in the stores and magazines that we gag when her name is mentioned.

She's Ina ... she has a beautiful smile and a friendly manner. She has mapped out an excellent business strategy for sharing her culinary style while maintaining her personal lifestyle and family privacy. I personally adore her.

I chose a simple supper for this week's tribute. It comes from Ina Garten's cookbook, barefoot contessa - how easy it that? While she gives us the recipe for Warm French Lentils, she suggests that they are perfect with garlic sausages. I chose to take the suggestion and I will tell you that it was one of the best suppers that we have had in a while!

It's is a meal that comes together in the space of an hour ... it would be an excellent option for an evening when you're poking around with a few projects going at the same time or when you have friends hanging around and want to sip wine and put dinner together ... together! It smells fantastic as it simmers to completion and the sizzling sausages are just the topper. We toasted slices of a whole grain bread and smeared garlic cloves over them to have with extra Dijon mustard and big bites of a garlic cheese sausage that I got at our little local butcher shop. Man, oh man!

Warm French Lentils
an adaptation of Ina Garten’s recipe


2 tbsp. plus ¼ c. olive oil
1 leek, white and light green sections, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped ½ inch dice
1 generous tsp. minced garlic
1 c. green lentils
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves
1 baby turnip, peeled and cut in half
1 tsp. butter
4 tsp. good quality Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. good quality red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

 Making the Dish:

  1. Heat a deep fry pan and add the 2 tbsp. olive oil. Toss in the leeks and carrots and sauté for about five minutes over medium high heat.
  2. Toss in the garlic and continue to sauté for one minute.
  3. Add the lentils and toss to coat with the oil and veg juices.
  4. Add 4 c. chicken broth, the turnip halves and onion. Bring this mix to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat and simmer partially covered, until the lentils are tender but still have a bit of bite to them.
  6. While the lentils cook, place the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and ¼ c. olive oil in a dish. Whisk to make a smooth dressing and set aside.
  7. When the lentils are done, spoon off any extra water.
  8. Add the butter and stir to melt it into the lentil mix. Pour the dressing over all and stir to combine, add the salt and black pepper a little at a time until you reach your preferred level of spice. Mix well and serve hot.

 Note: This recipe has been altered a bit from the original. To see the original, find it on page 191 of barefoot contessa – how easy is that?  

Now it's time to check out all the other Ina Garten offerings ... see the links at Mary Bergfeld's blog One Perfect Bite!  There is quite a group of bloggers doing this 50 Woman Game Changer blogshare!

You're welcome to jump on board too! Just contact Mary and let her know you're interested. How easy IS that?


  1. I adore Ina, I have all her cookbooks, have purchased some of her products at Stonewall Kitchen (pricey) and watch her show all the time!

    I'll have to give this recipe a try, it looks delicious and I just love lentil soup! Happy St. Paddy's Day!

  2. These look so comforting and perfect for days like today!

  3. Susan, I have this cookbook and somehow missed this recipe. I can't wait to try this!! I adore Ina too, she's one of my favourite chefs.

  4. I love her too. I could make this for Lent without the sausage. What a wonderful recipe.

  5. I saw your picture and it looked like the food that I often have on my kitchen table; lentils, good whole wheat bread, and a good sausage. I felt at home.

  6. I'm so surprised that all the Ina posts I;ve read so far feature dishes I haven't tried...I thought I'd gone through her entire collection! I love lentils, and I love Ina. Great post.

  7. That's a meal that I would love. It sounds delicious and filling without being too heavy. Yum!

  8. I'm like Sue: I love lentils and I love Ina. Lovely post!

  9. Although I don't seek out her recipes, I have never made a bad recipe of hers. This looks great too!

  10. This really sounds delicious, but then I always love your picks. I think we all adore Ina and your recipe is a perfect example of why. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. I have made Ina's lentils and just a few weeks ago found the french lentils she talks about prepackaged at the market. Your fresh butcher shop sausages look delicious. I bet you guys were full for a long time after eating the yummy lentils.

    1. I suspect I will have to go to the kitchen or health food stores in Keene in order to find the Le Luys lentils. The supers don't have any other than store brand or Goya lentils.

  12. I adore Ina and this looks like a meal I'll be making next week. Perfect comfort food!

  13. Lentils are such a favorite of mine and this dish looks perfect! I just happen to have French lentils in the house. Lovely post

  14. I like how Ina is not in-your-face famous but has a very unique, quiet elegance. I was absolutely looking forward to this week given that I like her a lot! Great recipe choice since these are the kind of meals I picture her eating as well.

  15. Has anybody actually made this recipe? Notes from those who have would be helpful.
    Yes we all love Ina.

    1. Hello, you old dinosaur ... in response to your request, I can only say that I have made them and I found that all the broth was absorbed so I don't kniow hwat Ina was talking about when she says to spoon off the excess broth. Perhaps different lentil types cook differently. The turnip adds depth to the flavour, so I went the extra go and removed it, mashed it and returned it to the lentils, giving the dish a 'mush factor' that we liked. The addition of the sausages to this meal really did make for the total 'comfort food experience' ... there. That's it for my little addition to the post ... why don't you make it and come back with your impressions?

  16. Did you use the green French lentils the recipe called for or the brown type? Green lentils are hard to find around these parts.

    1. The Le Puy lentils work really well, but used green lentil for this post. I've since made the recipe with the Le Puy ... tasty!


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