It is hot in Australia at this time of year and I am certainly not going to cook this popular and traditional Italian, New Year’s Eve dish – Cotechino e lenticchie – but some of you who are steeped into tradition may consider cooking this in hot or cold weather. If you do, make sure that as you dig into that sausage, you make a wish for the new year (it must be before midnight).
I cooked it last winter. Perfect for the cold weather. I first published this post on Dec 9th 2015 and it is time to publish it once more.
Cotechino is rather a large sausage which has a proportion of it made with some of the gelatinous meat from the pig trotter. Lenticchie are lentils- the ordinary green lentils. Cotechino e lenticchie is a dish that is more common in the north of Italy. I do not think that it is very common in Sicily, however as a result of media and recipe books and travel, food habits change, recipes evolve.
Just as we have adopted Panettone and Panforte at Christmas time in Australia, I gather that it is fairly hip to cook Christmas Pudding in Italy. So what do we think of that!
You will ned to visit an Italian delicatessen or butcher to buy a Cotechino sausage. If you live in Melbourne I go to Fairfield or Carlton. If you live in Adelaide Marino Food and Meat store at the Central Market. I know about and have visited Eataly in New York and they would definitely have it.
Cooking Cotechino and Lentils is very simple, and delicious. The onion, carrot and celery are the Italian usual suspects when making broth or a soffritto (from soffriggere – to lightly fry – the soffritto refers to the sautéed vegetables that are the basis for most braises, pot roasts and soups.)
This is definitely one of those dishes where you can add 1 kilo of lentils if you wish – it depends what proportion of lentils to cotechino that you prefer. Have a look at my photo and decide.
1 cotechino sausage
700 g of lentils
1 stalk of celery
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 peeled tomatoes
2-3 bay leaves – I always prefer fresh, but i have a bay tree growing in a pot on my balcony – you may not be as lucky.
Soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes.
Sauté the chopped celery, carrot, onion in the hot oil till golden. Drain the lentils and add cold water to cover them well.
Add peeled tomatoes and bay leaves, cover and cook them and cook over low heat until cooked.
In a separate pan add the sausage to cold water- sufficient water to cover the cotechino, bring it to the boil and then simmer it until it is cooked but not split – say 50 minutes.
Skim some of the fat off the broth, cut the sausage into thick slices, add them to the lentils with as much of the broth as you wish and serve.
The flavours will intensify over the next few days so appreciate the leftovers – you could add more of the broth (from the cotechino) and eat it as soup. Great stuff, especially for those who are living in a cold climate!
I have mentioned Panforte ( sweet). For recipe see:
Other Christmas recipes for sweets:
- Petrafennula Also Called Petramennula, A Sicilian Sweet with Possible Arabic Origins
- Christmas at Dolcetti in 2014 (and Recipe for Spicchiteddi – Sicilian Biscuits)
- Christmas Dolci and Dolcetti and Pistachio Shortbread Biscuits
- Sicilian Cassata and Some Background (perfect for an Australian Christmas)
- Sicilian Cassata and Marzipan at Easter (food and Culture in Sicily, La Trobe University)
- Cassata Deconstructed – A Postmodernist Take on Sicilian Cassata2
- Pasqua, Traditional Sweets – Agnellini Pasquali (pascal Lamb), Fondant to Cover Cassata
- Cassata ( Post No. 2) Calls for A Celebration!!!
Fish for Christmas (especially Christmas Eve):
- A Seafood Christmas Feast – Buon Natale
- Christmas Recipes with A Sicilian Theme and “Feast of the Seven Fishes.”
- Spaghetti Chi Ricci – Spaghetti con Ricci di Mare (spaghetti with Sea Urchins)
- Spaghetti with Crayfish or Crab (spaghetti con Aragosta O Granco)
Meat and other Christmas specaialties:
- Italianicious and Slow Cooked Goat in Nero D’avola and Reader’s Feast Bookstore
- Spezzatino di Capretto ( Italian Goat/ Kid Stew)
- Kid with Almonds (spring in Sicily, Capretto con Le Mandorle)
- Gnucchiteddi (making Small Gnocchi Shapes Using My Great Grandmother’s Device)
- Ravioli di Ricotta e Mulino di Cereali A Pietra (ricotta Ravioli and Stone Ground Flour in Chiaramonte)
My family always had brodo at some stage on Christmas day:
- Brodo di Gallina (chicken Broth)
- Gnocheti De Gries (as Called in Trieste), Gnocchetti di Semolino (italian), Semolina Small Gnocchi
And there are so many other seafood, meat, vegetables and pasta recipes on my blog.