So my mom randomly gave us salt pork about a month ago, for no particular reason. Not typically knowing what to do with salt pork, we kept it in the freezer until we figured out what to do with it. With all the cold weather we’d been having recently, we decided to crack open our soup book and tackle a new recipe from there. Well lo’ and behold, we came across a salt pork recipe! And it involved lentils, which have basically become our favorite thing that we ever cook with. What could be better than making a recipe where we had everything except the herbs on hand for? The answer: nothing. Now, since I was not super familiar with the whole salt pork thing, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when this turned out. The first night it was okay, but we had to rush to eat it and it practically burned our mouths off our faces! However, the second night and the ones that followed greeted us with an incredibly flavorful, filling soup that got thicker and better with time. We got a nice crusty bread to have with it and even topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese that we had left over from another recipe. Both of these additions made the soup even more appealing and for four days, we enjoyed this for dinner! A simple, straightforward very filling soup recipe that I recommend trying, if you want to eat a meat that’s a little more “out of the box.”
Cooking Notes: We followed the recipe for the most part – the only thing that’s probably different is how much salt pork we actually used vs. what the recipe called for. I’m also pretty sure laziness prevailed and we just tossed our herbs in willynilly as opposed to making a nice bouquet. Definitely eat with cheese and bread!
Salt Pork & Lentil Soup (serves 8; adapted from 1 Stock, 100 Soups)
8 oz. salt pork, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 potatoes, diced
2 1/4 cups red lentils
8 3/4 cups basic veggie stock
1 bouquet garni-1 bay leaf, 1 fresh thyme sprig, and 3 fresh parsley sprigs, tied together
Shredded cheddar cheese, to serve
Put the salt pork into a large pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until most of the fat has been released and it is browned all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, then set aside. Add the oil to the pan and heat it. Next, add the onion, garlic and potatoes and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
Pour in the veggie stock, increase the heat to medium, add the bouquet garni, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours, until the lentils are very soft. Stir in the salt pork, season with S&P, and cook for another 10 minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat, discard the bouquet garni, and serve. Enjoy with shredded cheddar cheese and a warm, crusty bread!