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Lentil, Kielbasa, and Fennel Stew

2011 December 4

The Omnivore built us a pretty sweet fire pit a few weeks ago.

This picture was taken in progress.  Now it’s got three gargoyles cemented on top and a lovely collection of ashes in the middle since we’ve been putting it to good use.

Life on a farm yields plenty of firewood

but not much time to enjoy it.  Although it sounds like a nice idea to be able to just sit around the pit and do nothing but watch flames, it just isn’t happened for us.  So the Omnivore and I have made a habit out of two-for-one-ing it.

I make meals that can be eaten out of bowls and he makes a fire.  Then we sit outside.  Our feet are kept toasty by the flames and our hands are kept toasty by the hot bowls of stew (or whatever).


The Omnivore asks me to pick up this stuff called “pink sausage” for him fairly regularly.  When I grew up, it was called kielbasa and was served with potatoes.  Have you ever stood in front of this section at the grocery store?  There are no less than 18 kinds of pink-colored sausage in shrink wrap.  Beef sausage.  Beef smoked sausage.  Smoked sausage.  Kielbasa.  Turkey smoked sausage.  Turkey Kielbasa.

It makes my head spin.  And I ALWAYS get the wrong kind.  So the Omnivore says, at least.  I don’t really think my husband can tell the difference between the kinds but they never taste as good to him as they did in his bachelor days and THIS is why he thinks I get the wrong kind.  The reality is, though, that his taste buds have matured and pink sausage slathered in BBQ sauce just doesn’t do it for him anymore.

So rather than pick him up his pink sausage and let him prepare it as he once did, I pick it up, and cook it up right, using a recipe and flavorful ingredients.  The sausage he prefers, in and of itself, is decidedly not healthy.  But I feel a little better about it when I add a ton of veggies and some hearty lentils to the mix.  In the end, we just get a taste of the sausage and a hearty dose of the healthy stuff.
This recipe is especially convenient because it dirties one pot, one cutting board, and one knife to make.  I whipped it up and let it simmer while the Omnivore and I did a little yardwork (tossing branches into the fire) and once dinner was ready, we were ready to sit down and enjoy the meal in front of the flames.  The fennel was a wonderful addition (not in the original recipe) so if you can find it, add it!

Lentil, Sausage, and Fennel stew (seen on I Was Born to Cook, adapted from Good House Keeping)


1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces pound kielbasa, cut into circles
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch half-moons
2 medium stalks celery, sliced
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
3 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
3 cup(s) water
1 can (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
8 ounces (by weight) lentils, picked over and rinsed


  1. In 8-quart saucepot, heat 1 teaspoons oil on medium until hot. Add half of kielbasa and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining kielbasa and 2 teaspoons oil.
  2. In same pot, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil on medium. Add onion, carrots, fennel, and celery; cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are golden, stirring often.
  3. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
  4. Add water, broth, tomatoes, and lentils to pot; heat to boiling on high.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  6. Stir in kielbasa; heat through. Spoon half of stew into serving bowls.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6


  • Melissa@IWasBornToCook

    Glad you liked it!  Love the addition of fennel.  

  • Kate

    I have a bulb of fennel on hand, since I bought 2 last week and only used one.  And of course we always have lentils.  No sausage, but that’s easily rectified.  You just gave me dinner for Wednesday night!

  • Nikki

    I love the idea of simple living, sitting next to a fire outside with a bowl of warm goodness in my hand!

  • themilkmanswife

    Mmmm. Cozy food to eat by the fire. Sounds so delightful! I think I just found a way to introduce my husband to lentils!!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, there’s *NO* way he can snub lentils with this meal.

  • Fennel Friday

    Happy Fennel Friday! We love this recipe and it is featured on our Fennel Stew Recipes! Thanks so much for sharing!