Months ago I made a pork roast and after carving the meat off the bone, I tucked the bones in the freezer to add to a pot of soup. Last week we made that soup with lentils, added the meaty bone, and it was fantastic.
Now the bone's gone. So I bought a thick center-cut pork chop and browned it with vegetables before adding lentils. It was a pretty good trick. That little chop went a long way to giving the soup flavor. You do need chicken stock, however, since one chop can't flavor the entire pot. Once the soup is done, take the chop out, cut up the meat, and return it to the lentil mixture.
1 thick center-cut pork chop
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper
3 cups le Puy lentils
2 cups water, or more to taste
6 cups chicken stock
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Extra crushed red pepper (for sprinkling)
1. Sprinkle the pork chop all over with salt and black pepper.
2. In a soup pot, heat the oil and when it is hot, add the pork chop. Leave it without moving for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is golden on the bottom. Turn and brown the other side.
3. While the chop is browning, add the carrots, onion, and celery to the pan at the edges. Cook, stirring the vegetables, for 5 minutes more or until the pork is browned on the bottom and the vegetables begin to soften.
4. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Stir the lentils into the pan. Add the 4 cups water and stock.
5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 50 minutes. Add more water during cooking if the soup seems too thick.
6. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt and red pepper, if you like. Remove the chop. Leave it to cool slightly. Cut the meat off the bone; discard the bone and fat. Chop the meat coarsely. Return it to the pot.
7. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with scallions, parsley, and red pepper. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.