The Au P’tit Bistro is a smoke-filled, bare-bones cafe in the French village of Saint-Martin-Valmeroux, said David McAninch in Saveur. Here, in the mountainous Auvergne region, the food seems almost like “a pure, distilled culinary embodiment of Frenchness.” Dishes are prepared simply, the way they always have been, and every meal expresses the notion that it’s “downright righteous to eat and drink richly every day.”
Sausages with French green lentils is a classic regional specialty, usually prepared with saucisse d’Auvergne, a type of fresh pork sausage that’s hard to find in the United States. Sweet Italian sausages are a fine substitute. Simmering them in wine deepens their flavor and helps keep them moist.
Recipe of the week
Saucisses aux Lentilles du Puy
(Sausages With French Green Lentils)
2 oz smoked bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
12 oz green Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 fresh pork sausages, such as sweet Italian sausages
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Cook bacon in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, until its fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Add butter, onions, carrots, celery; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine; add to pan. Stir in lentils and 5½ cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Discard herbs. Stir in mustard and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring sausages, wine, and 1 cup water to boil in 12-inch skillet over high heat. Cook, turning sausages occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add oil. Cook sausages until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Serve sausages over lentils. Serves 4.