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 of
smoked pork and sausages. In Provence, a less well-known variation
replaces the sauerkraut with lentils simmered in a cinnamon-spiced sauce
with tomato.

Through this whole-meal dish is indeed peasant fare, it makes an
attractive presentation for casual entertaining. With a sturdy bread
and a robust red wine, a green salad and a favorite dessert, this menu
will satisfy six to eight vigorous appetities.

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Look for coteghino sausage in markets or delicatessens specializing
in Italian foods; as an alternative, you can use mild or hotly seasoned
Italian sausage. Provence Boiled Dinner 1 coteghino sausage (1 to 1-1/4
lb.) or 1 to 1-1/4 pounds Italian sausages 2 pounds ham hocks, cracked
About 3-1/2 quarts water 1 large onion, sliced 1 stalk celery, cut into
chunks 1 large carrot, cut into chunks 3 chicken bouillon cubes 12 whole
black peppers 1 bay leaf Cinnamon-spiced lentils (directions follow) 1
smoked pork loin (about 4-1/2 lb.) or 8 smoked pork chops, each cut at
least 1/2 inch thick 1 medium-size head (about 3 lb.) Savoy cabbage

Remove casing from coteghino sausage, if necessary. (If using
Italian sausages, cook them later, as directed.) In a 6- to 8-quart
pan, combine coteghino sausage with the ham hocks, 3 quarts of the
water, onion, celery, carrot, bouillon cubes, peppers, and bay leaf.
Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently
until 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 10
by 15 in.). Cover tightly and keep warm in a 200[deg.] oven for as long
as 2 hours.

Ladle out 1 quart of the cooking broth and use to cook lentils (at
right). At the same time, add whole pork loin or chops to the pan
(along with Italian sausages, if used); if necessary, pour in more water
so meat is almost covered. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce
heat, 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 of
the cooking broth to boiling in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over medium
heat; addd cabbages wedges. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender
when pierced, about 10 minutes.

With a slottd spoon, remove hot meats from pan and arrange on a
large platter or board. Lift cabbage from liquid, drain, and set
alongside meats on platter. Place the lentils in a bowl alongside. If
desired, pour cooking broth through a strainer and discard the
vegetables. 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 over
medium heat, cook 1 medium-size onion, chopped; 2 medium-size carrots,
shredded; and 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed, in 3 tablespoons
butter or margarine until onion is limp, about 10 minutes; stir often.

Meanwhile, sort through and rinse 1 cup (6 oz.) lentils. Add to
the frying pan along with the 1 quart reserved cooking broth, 1 can (6
oz.) tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup water.
Cover and simmer over medium to medium-low heat until lentils mash
readily, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon
into a serving bowl.


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