Every new year’s eve, my family eats the same dinner. Whether you’re superstitious or not, the promise of having a wealthier new year by just eating as many lentils as possible is just too good to pass up! In fact, everyone is encouraged to eat as many lentils as possible because they are like coins and the more you eat on New Year’s eve, the more will come to you in the new year.
Italians cook a special pork sausage called Cotechino or Zampone (where the sausage is stuffed in the skin of the foot and toes of a pig, instead of the sausage casing). Towers of boxes containing these sausages start appear in local Italian markets in December. Outside of Italy, these special sausages can be found at a well-stocked Italian deli or online. These semi-cured, usually pre-cooked, sausages are stuffed with premium pork and a special mix of spices, that include black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon – the spices can vary depending on the Italian region where they’re made.
Americans can substitute Cotechino with a fresh all-natural breakfast, or country, sausage – this is an extra-thick sausage in similar dimensions to Cotechino that is usually sliced and then cooked as opposed to being cooked whole and then sliced as we do in Italy. You’ll either want to get a country sausage in an edible casing to use for this recipe or (if it’s just the pulp in the plastic packaging) slice cook conventionally to then add to this dish before serving. Another alternative is to use fresh pork sausage – the highest- quality and thickest ones you can find. Brown these in the base of the pressure cooker with the oil and butter before getting started and then follow the rest of recipe as described.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||steamer basket||10 min.||High(2)||Natural|
- 1, 500g Cotechino, or 1 lb fresh country pork sausage in casing
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1½ cups dry lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- Rinse and clean the pork sausage, then poke holes all around the casing with a fork and place in the steamer basket.
- In the pre-heated pressure cooker on medium heat add the olive oil, butter onion and saute' until the onion begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Then add the celery and saute for a minute more.
- Mix-in the lentils, vegetable stock and bay leaf.
- Lower the steamer basket with the sausage into the pressure cooker, over the lentils.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 10-12 minutes at high pressure.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, when cooking time is up count 10 minutes of natural open time. Then, release the rest of the pressure slowly using the valve.
- Mix-in about a teaspoon of salt if you used un-salted veggie stock and discard the bay leaf.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop the lentils onto a serving platter. Slice the sausage and arrange over lentils.
- Serve with mashed potatoes.
Happy New Year!