New Years Eve, Cotechino Con Lenticchie

In Italy, people welcome the New Year by tossing old things out of their windows to make room for the new and bring luck into their lives in the upcoming year. In regards to food traditions, Italians cook up a dish called Cotechino Con Lenticchie, pork sausage served over lentils. This dish is eaten during the New Year because of the presence of a rich and robust pork sausage with lentils in the dish. Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because it is rich in fat; while the coin-shaped lentils symbolize money. 

I love it served with a steamy dish of gnocchi and sautéed garlicky greens, another symbol of prosperity. 

Cotechino Con Lenticchie: Pork Sausage Served over Lentils

by George Hirsch | Makes six servings

If you can't find cotechino, a high quality fresh pork sausage flavored with nutmeg, and pepper a good hearty italian style sausage will suffice. 

1 pound cotechino, pork sausage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 whole black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh thyme 
1 pound dry green lentils
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 

Pierce the cotechino with a fork in several places. 

Pre heat a large pot and add olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, carrot, 1 bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Simmer vegetables for two minutes and add cotechino, cook two minutes and add lentils, cover with 4 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add additional water if necessary. 

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Spoon the lentils into a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and slice rounds of the cotechino over the top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.