mé·lange
māˈlänj/

  • mixture; medley
    a mixture often of incongruous elements
    from French mélange, from mêler ‘to mix.’

Mélange got mixed into the melting pot of English back in the 1600s. It derives from the Middle French verb mesler, which means “to mix.” “Mélange” is actually one of several French contributions to the English body of words for miscellaneous mixtures. “Pastiche” (meaning “a composition made up of selections of different works,” or broadly, “a disorderly mixture, hodgepodge”) is borrowed from French, and “medley” and “potpourri” have roots in French, too. There’s also the lesser known “gallimaufry” (meaning “hodgepodge”), which comes from the Middle French galimafree (meaning “stew”).

Gru·yère
ɡro͞oˈyer/
  • a firm, tangy cheese

Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming more assertive, earthy, and complex as it matures. When fully aged (five months to a year) it tends to have small cracks which impart a slightly grainy texture.

 

And there you have it. It’s French – in more ways than one – it’s hearty, it’s earthy, it’s nutritious, and it’s delicious.

Oh, and “it” has wine. What could be better?

French Lentil, Sausage, Kale, & Mushroom Mélange

1 cup French lentils, cooked (or 1/2 cup dried and simmered in 1 cup of water)
pinch of sea salt and pepper
1 1lb. ground sausage
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups rainbow kale, shredded
1 cup Merlot (or any red wine)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary
sea salt and pepper
3 oz. French Gruyère cheese, broken into rustic chunks

If preparing the lentils yourself, simmer the dried legumes in water and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, brown the sausage, along with the onion, mushrooms, and sea salt and pepper. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break the sausage apart and continue to stir until the fat renders and the onions and mushrooms are glazed.
Add the kale and wine and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and rosemary and reduce for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the lentils and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed or has evaporated.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with additional rosemary, broken Gruyère, and salt and pepper.

**I reduced my remaining sauce (after removing the mélange with a slotted spoon) into a thick, creamy rosemary-infused Merlot and served it alongside the dish. Yum!

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