From Verjus chef Michael Tusk:
Lentilles du Puy–the green lentils from the French town of Auvergne–are referred to as “the caviar of lentils.” They’re grown in volcanic soil, so they have a rich mineral taste that’s unlike other grain. When the weather gets cold, we serve the lentils with house-made saucisson. We sell the ingredients bundled as a gift at Verjus. This dish is as warming as they come.
500 grams or 1 pound Lentilles du Puy (French green lentils)
50 grams or 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Verjus saucisson (or any mildly spiced pork sausage)
45 grams or 1 small carrot, finely diced
45 grams or ½ yellow onion, finely diced
45 grams or 1 small stalk of celery, finely diced
A splash of Beaujolais or other light-bodied red wine
1.2 liters or 5 cups chicken stock (or water), plus more as needed
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (2-inch) piece of leek
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 sprigs Italian parsley, finely chopped
Thoroughly rinse the lentils under running water. Heat a medium saucepan over a medium flame. Add the olive oil and gently sauté the saucissons, turning often, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the saucissons and reserve.
Add the carrots, onions, and celery, and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lentils and stir until they are warmed. Add the splash of wine, and then chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, leek, and salt, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Return the saucissons to the pan and let them simmer with the lentils for 25 to 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender. If the liquid is all absorbed before the lentils are cooked, add a little more stock as needed to keep them moist. Remove the sausages and keep warm. Check the seasoning of the lentils and add more salt, if needed, and a little fresh black pepper.
Spoon the warm lentils onto a serving platter, arrange the saucisson on top with a sprinkle of parsley, and serve.