Herbed Lentils with Figs and Sausage

1 cupValley Fig Growers Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission or Calimyrna Figs, stems removed
1 cupLentils, picked over and rinsed
3 cupsWater
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1Bay leaf (optional)
4 teaspoonsOlive oil
½ - 1 poundLean Italian chicken or turkey sausage links (raw or precooked)
1 largeOnion, chopped
1 mediumCarrot, peeled and chopped
4 teaspoonsFinely chopped fresh rosemary (1-1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 - 2 clovesGarlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 can (14 ½ ounces)Diced tomatoes, drained
¾ cupDry red wine
Chopped Italian parsley


Slice figs in half; reserve.

In large saucepan, combine lentils, water, 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

Drain lentils, remove and discard bay leaf and set aside.

While lentils cook, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in large skillet over low to medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned (and cooked through if using raw sausage).

Remove to cutting board, cool slightly and cut into slices; reserve.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet along with onion, carrot, rosemary and garlic. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add figs, drained tomatoes and wine.

Bring to a simmer and cook until most of liquid evaporates, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add sliced sausage and lentils. Cook and stir until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (about 8 cups).

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