Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Step On the Parisian Sojurn

French food is food indeed: Quality basics cooked so well, something hidden just seems free!
Free like the wandering, wistful thoughts of dreary February
Of a day when the oven roasting isn't the room-warming nicety from today.

French food can be fatty, cheese-heavy, Egg exploring, and wine-steeped.
Good qualities? I'll let you be the judge.
Thankfully it was in the Art of French Cooking's daughter and children thereafter that it's true wealth has come out: the masterful preparation.

Now, anyone who would say I take the path less traveled:
Path of least resistance:
I ask, what is it of which you speak.

I found myself with copious cups of Lentils, links of sadly neglected Field Roast Sausages, and a desire to prove French cooking's simplicity - a sentiment I knew but one few do.
Mostly I needed a comforting meal, with a long weekend filled with homework
nestled between bitter cold and snow
A weekend, unfortunately so.

A classic French preparation, this is not
A balanced and filling vegetarian take on one?
Well, that's what you might have thought.

My Way to French Cassoulet

  • 2 Field Roast Sausage, Apple-Sage perhaps? Sliced into a dozen or so pieces.
  • 2/3 cups French Lentils, cooked al dente per directions
    • I boiled the poor life out of mine...
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped Small
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (1-2 Cloves)
  • 1 tsb Olive Oil
  • 1 Can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped (1/2" cubes) root vegetable
    • Rutabaga, Turnip, Parsnip, a melange perhaps...
  • 1 tsp Thyme, Fresh if possible
  • 2 tsp rosemary, minced, and fresh if possible.
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • a pinch of curry
  • A splash red wine
    • Perhaps a splash of white, dry but sweet may do
I would use Beans next time or significantly undercook my lentils to ensure better texture and structure. Moreover, you will need to balance the salt levels based on taste, so some vegetable stock, salt-added tomatoes, and salt itself may be needed.I used Rutabaga and very much enjoyed the subtle sweetness and texture it gave when cooked slowly but I'm open to new tastes.

Begin the lentils boiling, drain and rinse them in cold water when done to stop the cooking and remove excess starch; set aside. Saute the onions, garlic, and olive oil until aromatic, adding in the herbs and increasing heat after several minutes. Soon after, add tomatoes and Roots, covering for about five minutes to allow the vegetables to soften together. Add curry, pepper, additional salt, and reduce heat. Add the sausage, stir, and cover for several minutes more. Add Lentils, mixing to combine, and add wine, if you so choose. Cover and let cook on low heat for a few moments before removing to a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

Serve with simple greens, a few roasted vegetables, a fine slice of Sourdough, and good music. An accordion perhaps? I prefer good Jazz myself - maybe creole, bluesy, and loud like the crunch of my boots through the snow
Maybe some juicy NPR.

Lesson learned: less is more, and some days spent working are best ended with a meal, wafting smell, quiet music, and a moment's relaxation; facts I easily forget.

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