Salt Pork and Lentil Soup

A warming and filling dish, Salt Pork and Lentil Soup is a meal in itself. Ideal for a cold winter’s night, this soup may be served as a family supper with lots of crusty French bread and plenty of butter and cheese.8 oz. salt pork, cut INTO J-inch cubes

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into -2-inch cubes

1 lb. red lentils, washed, soaked in cold water for

1 hour and drained

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 pints beef stock bouquet garni, consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

Place the salt pork in a large, heavy-based saucepan and set the pan over moderate heat. Fry the pork, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pork is golden brown all over and has rendered most of its fat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to kitchen paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Add the butter to the saucepan and, when the foam subsides, add the onion, garlic and potatoes. Fry the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the lentils, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the beef stock and add the bouquet garni. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the pan to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 1-J to 2 hours or until the lentils are very soft. Stir in the reserved salt pork. Cook the soup for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat, remove and discard the bouquet garni. Ladle the soup into warmed individual soup bowls and serve immediately.

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