This recipe and the next two came about through a collaboration with the talented food photographer Joey Armstrong. She’s got mad skills behind the lens! I had wanted to do risotto, but a truly inspired risotto theme based around different global flavours. New flavours, old technique. All the recipes turned out much better than any expectations I had held. They’re really delicious. And, I’m not just saying that because I made them up, I’m saying it because somehow, I made these ingredients work together and taste great.
We use lentils fairly frequently in our house; lentil burgers, curried lentils, and added into soups or salads for a hearty and protein packed flavour boost. It does help that both my babies love lentils. Given the iron value in lentils, this makes me one happy momma.
The lentils in this recipe take on a very different texture. By using a risotto technique of slowly adding in the broth and lots of stirring, the lentils seem to release more starch and get softer, while still maintaining their shape. I’m pretty sure you’ll be very surprised when you start eating this recipe … in the best way possible.
The stars of this recipe are for sure the Canadian Lentils I used, but also the locally sourced lamb merguez sausage. Smoky paprika and other herbs mixed in with the lamb were an ideal pairing for the lentil risotto. The sausage is from Two Rivers Speciality Meats and I can’t rave enough about the quality and taste of their meats and their sausage flavour combinations. This is strictly my opinion; I’m not getting kick backs or anything here.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 lamb sausages merguez is preferred
- 2 cups dried green lentils well rinsed and picked over
- 6 cups low sodium broth chicken or vegetable
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 " piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper chili flakes
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 kosher salt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 x 400 ml can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp chopped lemon preserves
- Cucumber Yogurt:
- 1/4 of a long cucumber finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 cup Greek Yogurt
- Lots of salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan heat broth to a low simmer and keep warm near your lentil pot.
In a large skillet, heat oil to medium-high heat and add sausage. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until browned and starting to crisp, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon (or use a potato masher for greater efficiency). Remove sausage from pan leaving drippings behind.
Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute.
Add lentils, all spices, salt, and pepper stirring for 1 minute. (This allows the lentils to be come intensified with all the various flavour notes of the spices).
Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally to scrape the bits from the bottom of pan, for 2 minutes.
Start adding the broth 1 to 2 ladles full at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed between each addition. Be sure to stir the broth in to distribute it evenly.
With 2 ladles left add the lamb sausage back into the pan. Continue to add the remaining ladles of broth. Once all the broth is absorbed remove from heat and add in lemon preserves, parsley, and cilantro.
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well combined. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow flavours to meld.
To serve, place risotto in a shallow bowl and top with yogurt.