Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lentils with Pork

This is one of my made-up-on-the-spot dishes. I've made it twice, and it was pretty good. Jami likes it. The cat likes it. I'm sure the neighborhood dogs would like it, but I won't share.

  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound very fatty pork cut into 1 inch cubes (try to get a strip of side or back, with the skin still on)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on the size of the cloves or your feelings about garlic)
  • 1 or 2 plum tomatoes finely chopped (tomatoes add acidity to the dish, not much, but too much will kind of flatten the flavors)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • a pinch or two of "Italian spices" (this is a packet of mystery herbs someone gave us), or fresh or dried thyme, oregano, and rosemary (but not too much, you want to taste the lentils, not the herbs)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • some extra water (in case the liquids boil off too much)
  • a knife
  • a cutting board
  • a pot
  • normal stuff
1. Heat the pot and add the olive oil.
2. Add the cubed pork and cook the heck out of it. Don't blacken it, but it should be crispy, and your kitchen should fill with smoke.
3. Turn the heat down and add the onions.
4. Once the onions begin to release some of their moisture add the minced garlic. This keeps the garlic from burning and becoming bitter. If you cook it slowly it'll add some sweetness.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to fall apart.
6. Pour in the vegetable stock.
7. Add the lentils and chopped carrot.
8. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer until the lentils are cooked. About 30 minutes. Do not overcook the lentils. Check on them yourself, don't rely on a timer.
9. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper during the last ten minutes or so.
10. Add some of the extra water if you need to. This is supposed to be a lentil soupy-stewy sort of thing, not lentil gruel.

Options: This is great with polenta. It would probably be really really great with sausages cooked in beer or white wine. This serves four to six.

Oh. . . sausages.

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