Cotechino con Lenticchie (pronounced cooh·teh·KEE·no Con lehn-TEEK-kyeh) is a traditional Italian New Year’s Eve dish that is easy to make and delicious any time of the year. If you want to go really traditional check with your local Italian market and ask for uncooked cotechino sausage. However, you can easily substitute it with sweet Italian sausage if desired. To read more about lentils, click this link: Lentils for the New Year.
This traditional Italian New Year's dish is made with lentils to signify coins, or prosperity and pork to signify progress.
- 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb of fresh cotechino sausage
- 5 black peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup shallots, 1/4" dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups green or black lentils, small variety
- 1 large apple, Fuji or Pink Lady, 1/4" cubes
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
- Chives, thinly sliced for garnish
- Place the sausage, peppercorns, cloves, stick and garlic in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Remove and allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes on a cutting board before removing the skin and slicing into 1/2" medallions. Cover with a little foil and keep warm.
- About 45 minutes before the sausage is finished start working on the lentils. Sauté the shallots and garlic in a heavy bottom pot with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Add the cardamom and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add 5 cups of water and the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, lower to a simmer and cook until they are soft, but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
- When the lentils are very close to being done, about 10 minutes before your timer goes off, add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the apples. You want to salt the lentils very close to the finish line. Any earlier and you will break them down.
- Once the lentils are finished cooking plate them with the sausage and garnish with chestnuts and chives.
Cook time includes boiling the cotechino which is largely unattended. -- Roasted Chestnuts can be found at many produce and grocery stores, in 3.5 ounce bags. Two bags will allow enough for garnish and few to nibble on.