For our French Friday challenges, I really do try not to research what any other participants have found – I’m always hoping that I can make it, decide for myself… and then have my mind completely changed by all of the fabulous cooks in our group.
I have to admit that I did see a few comments about this dish. So I did take a bit of advice. I cut the recipe in half. And then was still worried about how much I’d be making. All the while, I was looking at using 1 carrot, 2 parsnips, a small handful of fingerlings and an onion, for a dish purporting to feed 10 (to be fair, the original is designed to feed 10, but probably lumberjacks after a hard day’s work). I had a bit of a time getting my head around the whole idea. But I made a couple of decisions – I’d stick with just pork (and so used boneless country spare ribs), and not add all of the sausages. I also wasn’t using the uber-traditional duck confit, so did add some thyme and a bay leaf (which I’d normally do for a bean soup). The one thing that threw me off (and kept me there) was the 1/2 cup (!) of dried beans. This isn’t a far cry from a soup I would typically make, so the quantity of beans was a real departure. I would have thought, um, half a pound.
Pork gets well browned, and then the aromatics get their turn.
I debated, and then I debated, and debated again – I had thought about putting this in the crock pot, but then re-read the recipe. In the end, after prepping all of the ingredients in the evening, I put them into the refrigerator, then put it all together in the crock pot in the morning just before work. I hoped that the chilled ingredients would slow down the process so that the nine hours I would be gone would loosely translate to the few hours in the recipe.
What did I use? I used dried lima beans (I like to use them in a similar soup), I did use some crushed red pepper, black pepper in addition to the aforementioned thyme and bay. For stock, I used some of Penzey’s ham soup base (it’s really great, especially for something like split pea soup, or where you want the flavor but not the meat). I did add some of the cabbage, but my pot was getting a bit full.
When I got home, it smelled divine, and I was pleased that my vegetables didn’t fall apart as I feared. But there was a lot of broth. Not surprisingly, the different types of vegetables were fairly few and far between as were the beans. All of that said, with just a little salt and a bit more pepper, this had delicious flavor. To me, it seemed more like a boiled dinner (not something I’ve ever really had much of), but all of the components were tasty, including the pork, which could have easily been overdone but wasn’t.
I’m not sure what this was really supposed to look like, mine certainly didn’t resemble the recipe, but it was tasty, and certainly if I were somewhere cold and blustery, it would be even better. We’ll certainly finish it off, with some home-made bread this time. And I was happy that the technique I tried worked.
If you’d like to see how others completed this recipe, you can find their links here.