French peasant supper: pork, cabbage, and lentils Essay

The French favor cabbage with pork in country foods. In Alsace,choucroute garnie combines cabbage and sauerkraut with an assortment ofsmoked pork and sausages. In Provence, a less well-known variationreplaces the sauerkraut with lentils simmered in a cinnamon-spiced saucewith tomato. Through this whole-meal dish is indeed peasant fare, it makes anattractive presentation for casual entertaining.

With a sturdy breadand a robust red wine, a green salad and a favorite dessert, this menuwill satisfy six to eight vigorous appetities. Look for coteghino sausage in markets or delicatessens specializingin Italian foods; as an alternative, you can use mild or hotly seasonedItalian sausage. Provence Boiled Dinner 1 coteghino sausage (1 to 1-1/4lb.) or 1 to 1-1/4 pounds Italian sausages 2 pounds ham hocks, crackedAbout 3-1/2 quarts water 1 large onion, sliced 1 stalk celery, cut intochunks 1 large carrot, cut into chunks 3 chicken bouillon cubes 12 wholeblack peppers 1 bay leaf Cinnamon-spiced lentils (directions follow) 1smoked pork loin (about 4-1/2 lb.) or 8 smoked pork chops, each cut atleast 1/2 inch thick 1 medium-size head (about 3 lb.) Savoy cabbage Remove casing from coteghino sausage, if necessary.

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(If usingItalian sausages, cook them later, as directed.) In a 6- to 8-quartpan, combine coteghino sausage with the ham hocks, 3 quarts of thewater, onion, celery, carrot, bouillon cubes, peppers, and bay leaf.Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gentlyuntil ham hocks are very tender when pierced, about 1-1/2 hours. Lift out ham hocks and sausage and put in a rimmed pan (at least 10by 15 in.). Cover tightly and keep warm in a 200[deg.

] oven for as longas 2 hours. Ladle out 1 quart of the cooking broth and use to cook lentils (atright). At the same time, add whole pork loin or chops to the pan(along with Italian sausages, if used); if necessary, pour in more waterso meat is almost covered. Bring to boiling over high heat.

Reduceheat, cover, and simmer gently until hot through, about 25 minutes.Lift meat out and transfer to pan with ham hocks; cover tightly. Core cabbage and cut into 6 to 8 wedges. Bring about 1/2 inch ofthe cooking broth to boiling in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over mediumheat; addd cabbages wedges.

Cover and simmer until cabbage is tenderwhen pierced, about 10 minutes. With a slottd spoon, remove hot meats from pan and arrange on alarge platter or board. Lift cabbage from liquid, drain, and setalongside meats on platter. Place the lentils in a bowl alongside.

Ifdesired, pour cooking broth through a strainer and discard thevegetables. Serve broth in mugs to sip before or along with the meal.Makes 6 to 8 servings.–Judith Gaulke, Atherton, Calif. Cinnamon-spiced lentils. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan overmedium heat, cook 1 medium-size onion, chopped; 2 medium-size carrots,shredded; and 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed, in 3 tablespoonsbutter or margarine until onion is limp, about 10 minutes; stir often.

Meanwhile, sort through and rinse 1 cup (6 oz.) lentils. Add tothe frying pan along with the 1 quart reserved cooking broth, 1 can (6oz.) tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup water.Cover and simmer over medium to medium-low heat until lentils mashreadily, about 40 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spooninto a serving bowl.

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