I love winter cooking if only for the leftovers. Soups, stews, curries and ragús are the rotating cast of characters in my freezer from November through April. And with a kid at home, quick meals that are also delicious and warming are the best. As a cook, it is extra satisfying when I can take leftover bits of something wonderful and make the most of it. Cooked four sausages but only ate three? Crumble the rest into a pasta dish. Wound up with one slice of bacon left in the package? Chop it up and use it to start a stew or to crumble into a salad. This kind of thing is so satisfying, but occasionally we are faced with an ingredient we don’t immediately know how to repurpose. Such was the case with the butt ends of our house-cured coppa. Since we unveiled our curing program at B&L we have been rifling through coppa. This makes me happy, as it is one of my favorite things we make, but what to do with all the unsliceable end pieces? McCullough took this challenge upon herself and it resulted in one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while. Wondering how you can recreate this delicious dish at home? Don’t worry, you can find the ends from our coppe in our grab ‘n go case.
McCullough’s recipe for Lentils with Coppa, Kale, and Sausage (Serves 4)
2 oz coppa ends, minced
½ onion, minced
1 cup French green lentils
6oz white wine
1.5 qts (6 cups) pork stock
1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
sprig of thyme
1 head red kale, thick parts of stems removed, leaves shredded or roughly chopped
¾ pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from the casing
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, high-sided saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced coppa and sausage and sauté until the fat is translucent and the lean bits are slightly crispy. Add minced onion and cook about five minutes. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the lentils, thyme, and black pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat the lentils with the fat. Add the white wine, turn the heat up to medium high and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Add stock, and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, add the kale. Cook another 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes total.
The lentils should be tender, and most of the stock should be absorbed. If they are al dente and the pan is getting dry, add more stock or a splash of water. Once the lentils are ready, pick out the thyme sprig and taste for seasoning. The coppa should have seasoned the lentils, but you may want a little more salt to the final dish.