This, That and The Next Thing

After some thought, I am convinced that my love of pork is in my blood. My sister was in southern Florida visiting my parents last weekend and of course I asked, what did you all eat. Bizarre first query, I know. On the first night of her visit, our Mother prepared her famous pork roast with all the trimmings. My mouth watered upon hearing this as I can fully imagine what dinner entailed. Expertly roasted pork with a golden, rosemary crust. Celeriac root mash. An assortment of vegetables that almost certainly includes green beans with slivered almonds and roasted beets. If there is time and you are lucky, which you almost always are, homemade gravy. The familiar sound of Dad’s electronic knife cutting the meat and hitting the metal serving plate means it is time for you to pour your wine and find a place at the table. This is unequivocally one of my family’s most beloved meals compliments of our wonderful Dish.

In addition to being all about pork, I am also all about lentils. I buy them in bulk. We can never have enough I tell Matthew when he asks, do we need more. They are always in abundance at our house. I remember I had them for the first time on a Swiss Air flight from Zurich to Cape Town. We were flying to our homeland for the weddings of two of my cousins. When the meal came out (which I almost never eat), I quizzically stared at the brown berries on my plate. They were delicious. What are these I asked the air hostess? She returned my query with a disbelieving stare and informed me that they were lentils. Delicious I told her. I was hardly off the plane some 9 hours later regaling my cousins with details me of my aircraft meal. They thought I was nuts. I had fallen in love. There you go.

Once upon a time I started making a soup that called for red lentils, carrots and lemon juice. Red lentils. Who knew such a thing existed? I made this soup for the very first time when I lived in New York City. My first exercise in trying to find red lentils was an adventuresome one. Won’t you know they were around the corner at Whole Foods. To this day, the red lentils shape one of my go to soups. I can make it with my eyes closed. It commands the perfect amount of spice and given the color, it is most certainly something different. A dollop of yoghurt on top with some chopped parsley and you are cooking. Perhaps some shaved hard cheese or toasted pumpkin seeds. It is a simple but elegant, velvety soup. I will make it sometime soon.

I love lentils of all variants. Black, green, red (they are really orange) or your usual brown sort. Some have different cooking instructions but no matter which way you cut the mustard, they are simple to throw in a pan and get going. I love to put a bit of oil in a pan, chop up some garlic and leek, sauté them before adding my Puy lentils, homemade or store brought chicken broth and within a half hour you are ready. It is therefore no surprise that when at the gym one day, I came across this recipe, committed it to memory and knew it would soon be finding a way to our kitchen table. The pork is prepared in the pan, which simplifies things to no end. I did not serve ours with oranges as for whatever reason cutting them seemed to be an added fuss to me at the time. Orange slices aside, this was marvelous as is. I paired ours with steamed green beans. What can I say, I like to let the lentils speak for themselves. Guten appétit.

Pork with Lentil Salad
Adapted from Whole Living


2 bay leaves
1 leek – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – chopped
Chicken stock
1 cup of lentils – pick your poison
Extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless pork chops or two large bone-in pork chops
2 oranges
1 shallot – chopped
1 cup of basil leaves – chopped
1 Avocado – not a deal breaker, you can leave it out if you like
Salt and pepper

Say What

1. In a pan, sauté the chopped leek and garlic with some olive oil until the garlic is golden. Roughly four minutes. Add lentils and move around the pan for 30 seconds. Add your chicken stock. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Once the liquid has disappeared, your lentils are ready. Move them to a cool bowl.

2. Salt and pepper your pork chops. Heat 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a large pan or skillet to medium high heat. Throw in your garlic. Cook your pork chops until they are done. They should be golden on the exterior and cooked throughout on the interior.

3. Zest one of the oranges, juice them both and add to a bowl. To make your salad, add the lentils, basil, shallot, 1 TBS olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper.

4. Dish up a spoonful of the lentil salad on a plate, followed by the pork chop on top and another scoop of the salad on top of that. Serve with the avocado sliced on the side and some chopped basil on top. Now how easy was that?

1 comment:

  1. Do you pre-soak your lentils and how mucg stock do you cook them in? I adore lentils and am in a lentil/bean phase right now. Can't get enough!