Recipe for Health, Wealth & Good Fortune

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For many Americans, New Year's means parties, football, and watching the ball drop in Times Square. But for others here and around the world the celebration wouldn't be complete without certain delicious traditional foods.

In Italy, the people welcome the New Year by tossing old things out of their windows to make room for the new and luck to enter their lives in the upcoming year. In food traditions, the Italian people cook up a dish called Cotechino Con Lenticchie: pork sausage served over lentils. This dish is eaten because of the presence of fatty rich pork sausage and lentils in the dish. Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because they are rich in fat; while the coin-shaped lentils symbolize money. It is delicious.

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Cotechino Con Lenticchie: Pork Sausage Served over Lentils

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

This hearty and satisfying dish is traditionally eaten on New Year's Day to bring abundance and fortune. Cotechino is an Italian fresh pork sausage. It is creamy and delicate in flavor. It is sometimes sold precooked or boiled but the best ones are fresh. If you can't find cotechino a high quality fresh pork sausage flavored with nutmeg, cloves and pepper 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. 

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Mannings Ballylickey

Postscript: I thank you for watching my TV shows for almost twenty-five years and following my blog posts; felt this story was timely this week given St. Patricks Day next Saturday. As I shared Val Manning's life-long story of local and stainable back then I know this is the true meaning of celebrating the people of Ireland on St. Pats! Sláinte

I've been taping in Ireland for my TV series. A few days ago I had the pleasure to share a glass of Rose and taste local cheeses with the honorable Val Mannings of Ballylickey at his food Emporium, Mannings located along the River Ovane.

I was dropped in the heart of County Cork, Ireland and talked local food and sustainability with Val. Sustainability is nothing new to Val, after all, he's been doing it for decades, in fact for generations in the Mannings Family. Just ask anyone in Ireland and they will know of Val Manning. His cheeses, sausage and breads were out of this world; and I was lucky enough to have some time and listen to his fabulous stories. The food, wine and food conversation in Ireland is all part of the experience. I know my life has been made extra special from my visit - so thank you Val for sharing your knowledge with me so I can share it with my friends back home.

So if you venture off the beaten path, to experience original authentic artisanal foods; I recommend a drop by to Mannings while in Cork on N71. I'll be back.

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For more info on traveling to Ireland: Tourism Ireland

Images: Hirsch Media