Welcome to a new series on Cook Local – Quick Fix Dinner Ideas. These posts, likely appearing once a week or so, won’t be true recipes. They will, however, be what we had for dinner that night. Sometimes they’ll just be a creative combination of leftovers. The posts will be quick, the photos will be taken moments before eating. In short, these will be quick and easy meals that anyone should be able to toss together (assuming you have the ingredients of course).
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that while no one can cook every night, anyone can cook on most any given night. We cook at home at least five nights a week, and sometimes six or seven. However, not every night involves us cooking an entire meal, with a recipe, from scratch. My hope for this series is that it will help you learn how to make a meal, even without a recipe.
Tonight’s recipe was the second recipe I cooked tonight (the first was a braise for tomorrow night’s dinner). Because of that, it needed to be quick and easy, and not need a lot of tending since I was still tending the braise a bit. We purchased some lovely Merguez sausage from Sea Breeze Farm this week, so we threw that together with chard from our garden and my favorite: lentils.
Merguez Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Lentils
- 2 links merguez sausage from Sea Breeze Farms (see notes)
- 1 bunch swiss chard (about 3/4 lb)
- 2/3 cup green lentils
- 2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
- Salt and pepper
- 1 sprig (2 inches long) fresh rosemary, minced
- In a pot over medium heat, cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes with the stock, a bit of salt and pepper, and the minced rosemary.
- Meanwhile, separate the chard stems from the leaves. Cut the leaves into strips and dice the stems.
- Boil the stems for 5 minutes, then add the leaves and boil for another 3 minutes. Drain.
- Poach the sausage for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove the sausages from the water, slice into rounds, and cook the rounds in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy on both sides (about 10 minutes total).
- Add the chard, stir to heat, and serve over the lentils.
Notes: This is a simple meal that comes together quickly. The only downside is that you’re using three total pots. You can vary this dish by swapping out a different type of sausage, using kale or collards instead of chard, and adding different spices to the lentils. I particularly loved the creamy lentils with the crispy sausage. The combination was excellent.
A note on the sausage preparation. If you’re using fresh sausage that hasn’t been smoked, poaching the sausage for 7-8 minutes first allows you to slice the sausage without it falling apart. It also helps the sausage have a slightly firmer texture once fully cooked. This is particularly important for any super fresh sausage, like the sausage you’ll find at Sea Breeze Farm.
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