Sausage and Lentil Ragout

1 T olive oil
4-6 sausages, lamb or any other mild sausage
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, small dice
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, small dice
2 ribs celery, small dice
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
2 C lentils du puy, or any green lentil
½ C Lambert Bridge Merlot
½ bunch fresh thyme, wrapped in cheese cloth for easy removal
4 C chicken stock
1 T apple cider vinegar
3 T Italian parsley, chopped

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot heat the olive oil until smoking hot. Cut the sausage in half lengthwise into ¾ inch half moons. Cook in the Dutch oven half way, remove and set aside.

Pour out excess sausage fat and return to the stove. Over high heat, add diced bacon, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until vegetables are translucent. Mix in lentils and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine and reduce by half. Add the thyme and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the sausage to the pan, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, cooking until lentils are done about 25-35 minutes.

In the last minutes of cooking, stir in the vinegar and parsley. Serves 4.

Pairs well with Lambert Bridge Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Zinfandel

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