Round And Firm And Fully Packed

We continue to have an incredibly mild and beautiful November, and in-between food- not too heavy, not too light- is working famously. I came across a decent-looking garlic sausage (with pistachios) recently at a store while looking for something else. My first thought was cassoulet, but since we’re out of duck confit that had to wait. And since I’ve been in a bistroey mood of late, the lentils in the pantry took care of the rest. What made this particularly good, though, was additional pork in two forms: bacon and trotter gear.

To begin, I defrosted a quart of unctuous potential and set the sausage to simmer in it along with half an onion, a carrot, a leek, and some celery. The stock is already flavored with these things, but I figured it wouldn’t suck if I added more this time around. It didn’t. After about an hour of gentle poaching, I removed the meat, strained the stock (which was now polyvalently porky) and got to work on the lentils. A hunk of our bacon, cut into lardons went in first to render. Then diced carrot, onion, leek, celery, and parsley, then the lentils, then the stock. It all simmered until the lentils were just al dente. Then I sliced the sausage- still warm on a back burner- over the top and dinner was served.

In Bouchon Thomas Keller does his version of this classic. And I have no doubt that it’s wonderful. I might even try it someday. But he does call for questionable things to be done- like discarding the bacon after cooking, and for poaching the sausage in plain water with some aromatics thrown in. Far be it from me to question his judgment, but I have to say that it’s difficult to imagine how this could have tasted any better. I should probably make it before I get too smug about the awesomeness of this, though, because his does include garlic confit and it might well be a revelation. I’ll probably just re-read it and tweak this a bit closer next time, since that’s usually how it goes around here. I think I opened something nice with this, but I honestly can’t remember what it was.

4 comments to Round And Firm And Fully Packed

  • Brooke

    Pretty. And very bistroey. Lentils have been calling my name lately (with an obnoxious French accent) too.

    I'm also against anything poached in water. Why use water when you could use something with flavor instead? Flavor usually tastes better.

  • Zoomie

    Keller be damned; you did the right things.

  • peter

    "Brooke… you make ze lentilles tonight… you weel be so appee…"

    Zoomie: He'd probably shudder in horror at my barbaric treatment.

  • cook eat FRET

    unctious potential…

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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