Friday, April 30, 2010


2 new ideas/techniques this week. Well new to me. The first was inspired by Mario Batali and discovered here, the second done out of necessity. So, the lentils are first up. They are a simple dish, lots of flavor and very inexpensive - especially if you buy the cheap supermarket lentils. The link suggests some rather more fancy lentils, but I used the 75 cent supermarket variety just fine.

Lentils with Guanciale
8 oz packet of lentils sorted to remove any small stones or other bad things
2 carrots halved
2 celery ribs halved
2 T Coarse Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
3 Oz guanciale or pancetta or other unsmoked bacon in a single piece
Water to cover lentils
Place the lentils, carrots, celery, mustard, bay leaves and guanciale in a saucepan. Cover by 1 inch with water, and stir to mix everything together.
Put over low heat, cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 25 minutes - or until the lentils are cooked. They should be al dente and not mushy.
Remove from the pan, discard the vegetation and chop the guanciale into 1/4 inch or less pieces. Mix the guanciale thoroughly back into the lentils.
Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with olive oil drizzled over it and maybe a little sherry vinegar if you want the acid bite. Depending on the pork product you use, you may need a little salt. My guanciale is pretty salty, so I found I did not need any.

Roasted and Oil Poached Red Peppers
This recipe came about because i was in a hurry and wanted some roasted peppers. The trusty blowtorch came to the rescue, but more needed to be done. The peppers come out sweet and tender, but don't have the caramelized roasted flavor.
4 red peppers
1/2 cup high quality olive oil (I used a good extra virgin oil)
Using an open flame (in my case the blow torch that Madame is so frightened of), blacken the skins of the peppers. This does not fully roast them, just makes them easy to peel.
Peel and seed the peppers and cut into 1 inch wide strips.
Place the pepper strips in a sauce pan and add the olive oil. Heat over low heat, taking care that the oil does not even reach the shimmering stage until the peppers are softened - about 15 minutes.
Remove the peppers from the oil - with a couple of tablespoons of the oil too, and place on the antipasti dish. Use the rest of the oil in a vinaigrette where the slight red pepper flavor adds some depth to the vinaigrette.


Judy said...

Where do you purchase the Guanciale in this area?

Chris Bird said...

I but guanciale at Jimmy's (in Dallas) or order it from Niman Ranch online. Sometimes Kimmy's gets it from Niman ranch, sometimes not.