Ah, lentils. The Achilles Heel of my inner photographer. Try as I might, I could not get this dish to look even one-tenth as good as it tastes. So I ask you to close your eyes, and imagine this: creamy lentils, chicken sausage, spinach and feta cheese, the earthy-salty-tangy flavors melting together in your mouth, a piece of crusty bread and a tangy green salad on the side, a glass of nice red wine. That's the truth of this recipe, though the photographs might not inspire. In the slow cooker, the dish simmers while we work in the garden, and it tastes great -- satisfying and restorative to tired muscles --hot or at room temperature, when the temperature outside cools off in the evening, as it can do quite suddenly in the Spring.
Slow cooker lentils with chicken sausage, spinach and feta cheese
Serves 4; can be multiplied and cooked in a larger slow cooker
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 leek, white part only, trimmed and chopped
12 oz pre-cooked chicken sausage (I use fontina and spinach flavor or roasted garlic flavor), sliced into rounds
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste
In a 3-quart slow cooker, add the lentils, chicken broth, leek and sausage. Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours, or on LOW for 5 hours, checking periodically to ensure there is enough liquid to cook the lentils.
After the initial cooking time, when the lentils are almost soft, taste, and add black pepper and salt (if needed). Then stir in the spinach and feta. Cook on LOW for 30 minutes.
Serve hot, at room temperature, or let cool completely and refrigerate, and serve cold.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Vegan barley and lentil pilaf with mushrooms and spinach
Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage and green (or red) slow-roasted tomatoes
Armenian red lentils and bulgur (vospov khyma)
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Warm green lentil salad with caramelized onions, feta cheese, and pears, from Andrea Meyers
Quinoa, lentil and feta salad, from We are not Martha
Sausage and lentils with fried sage, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spinach salad with lentils and tart cherry vinaigrette, from Eggs on Sunday
Lentil soup with Italian sausage and spinach, from Cookin' Canuck
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