Hi, all. Sorry I haven’t written in such a long time. I’ve had a pretty long streak of unsatisfactory recipes. For thanksgiving, I made a chocolate pudding pie. The week before that I made Swedish cinnamon rolls with exorbitantly expensive peal sugar and cardamon. Neither of these were a great success.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was so wealthy in leftovers that I thought I didn’t need to go grocery shopping. This was all fine and good until Tuesday, when I made a lackluster yaki udon. On Wednesday I made some truly subpar soba. It poured on Thursday so I put off grocery shopping again, and raided my pantry instead.
Heidi Swanson’s Red Lentil Soup is a recipe that I’ve used for years. It’s a simple recipe with only a handful of ingredients. Some lentils, rice, stock, onion, shallots, and a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an onion and was missing two shallots, and the soup was a bit bland.
My mother makes excellent soup, and one of her secrets is that she uses a type of Chinese salt pork aka 火腿 in her base. So I threw in a chunk of frozen pork belly, and fished it out every few minutes to cut it into smaller and smaller pieces. I wanted it to cook quickly, but my mother usually leaves it has a big hunk. I think it would have been far better to have defrosted it first and sauteed it in the beginning, but whatever. I didn’t actually taste it at this point, but then I also threw in a strip of bacon. Together, it added a smokiness, a body, dare I say a meatiness to the soup.
Porky Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
6 cups stock (or water) (I used 4 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups of water)
1 1/3 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup rice, picked over and rinsed
1/3 pound of pork belly
1 slice of bacon
In a medium pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally. About three to five minutes.
Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then add in the lentils and rice. Bring to a simmer. Add pork belly and bacon. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is soft and pork is cooked through. By this time, the lentils will very soft. If needed, you can thin it out with a little broth or water.