Cast Iron

Fugly Lentils and Drunken Pig

December 29, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This is a love story. One with big hands, fat spoons and where ladles are measured in busty bra sizes. It harkens back to the days when hand hewn tables were made of whole trees and crusty loaves of bread were the size of clouds. One where wine was quaffed, not sipped and swirled, and bellicose laughter could be heard around the dinner table not TV. There were no food temples of hallowed and silent reverence just hunger and many mouths to be fed. While not pretty the lowly lentil has done this job for centuries and so has the pig. When they finally met it was love at first sight. The kind of love where you see no faults. It is big love where your very nature is to do everything in your power to make the other shine because they are the only light you see. There are no dainty little pieces that sit comfortably on soup spoons never to threaten silk shirts with a trip to the dry cleaners. These are knife, fork, spoon and some crusty bread to sop up any tears of joy left on the plate kind of eats. The Armagnac you ask, well, sometimes the lentils just like to feel a little slutty. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • For the drunken pig
  • 3 or 4 meaty fresh pork hocks, unsmoked and about 4 inches long. The closer to the ham end the better. Really, make sure they are meaty it is where the pork for the dish is coming from
  • 10 ounces unsmoked slab bacon, in one piece
  • 1 leek, trimmed cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, rinsed and cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole black pepper corns
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick 3 inches long
  • for the fugly lentils
  • Meat from the hocks and the bacon
  • strained stock from above
  • 2 onions, trimmed peeled and cut into quarters
  • 8 carrots, decent sized, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
  • 14 cloves of garlic, peeled, trust me later you will think this isn't near enough
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups Lentils du Puy
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon armagnac
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley minced
  1. To make the stock turn the oven to 325 degrees. Place all the stock ingredients into a large enameled cast iron pot with a lid. Make sure it is going to fit comfortably. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil on the stove top and skim any foam that rises.
  2. Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven. Take a 2 hour and 45 minute break to do what ever you want. I generally play with the kids at this point or run errands or whatever.
  3. Make sure the hocks are pull apart tender. If not cook them a little longer. When they are done pull the hocks and bacon and set them on a tray. Strain and drain the stock into a clean bowl, degrease and reserve the broth. Clean out the pot and put it back on the stove over medium high heat.
  4. Add a few glugs of olive oil and then toss in the carrots and the onions. Sear them until they begin to take on color.
  5. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, tomato sauce, 3 cups of stock and the tomato paste.
  6. Season the broth with black pepper and add the lentils. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer them for 40 minutes checking to make sure they aren't boiling or that the lentils haven't drank all the broth and adding broth if necessary. Lentil like all beans vary in cooking times depending on age, moisture content etc so times may vary. You want these to be tender but not mush so you will need to give them a taste.
  7. Meanwhile make the seasoning sauce. Combine the minced garlic, parsley and red wine vinegar and season it with salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oil.
  8. At the end of 40 minutes check to make sure the lentils are tender. If not simmer them another fifteen minutes or so. Stir in the armagnac and add the reserved pork that you picked from the bones and add it to the lentils. Cut the bacon into equal portions and add it too. Season the pot with salt and black pepper and taste. Cover and warm the pork through. Serve with the sauce on the side.
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35 Reviews

jifferb January 4, 2011
And ladles "measured in busty bra sizes"... pure food pornetry.
jifferb January 4, 2011
that's porn poetry, though i don't think its as commonly used as fugly...
jifferb January 4, 2011
Thirschfeld, this is so hot. I am not a fan of lentils but "slutty lentils", I just may have to reconsider. Food porn at its finest. I think I am going to go get my lentils ONNNN!
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
thank you, I hope you give them a try, pornetry is good
Midge January 1, 2011
Wow thirschfeld, I sure would love to be a guest at that hand-hewn table.
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
thanks midge.
luvcookbooks January 1, 2011
What does fugly mean? Also, I agree with everyone else that your inner writer is emerging. You should think about what to do with it next, altho it is fun to just have you here on food52.
testkitchenette January 1, 2011
I won't write it verbatim but it is a combination of two words f-ing and ugly.
luvcookbooks January 1, 2011
thanks, testkichenette. i don't get out much. :)
Blissful B. December 31, 2010
I agree with the others. You're an amazing writer as well as cook. If not a cooking show, it might be time to start your own blog. You have a fan base already!
Blissful B. January 2, 2011
Oops. I'm slow on the uptake. I just realized you have a blog -- am bookmarking it among my favorites now.
vegetarianirvana December 31, 2010
No disrespect meant, I love your irreverent style of writing.
thirschfeld December 31, 2010
thank you and none taken
testkitchenette December 30, 2010
Damn, that was some good writing thirschfeld!
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
thank you testkitchenette
testkitchenette December 30, 2010
I forgot to say that I want to eat this right now and I have always loved the word's very useful!
Sagegreen December 30, 2010
Righteous rolls last week, now lascivious lentils! Can't wait for the next chapter.
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
thanks Sagegreen
WayneB December 30, 2010
Wow. I didn't know whether to go to the kitchen or the bedroom!! lol Great story and looks like a great recipe.
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
thats probably more than I needed to know WayneB. LOL and thanks
gingerroot December 29, 2010
I have no words, other than you make beautiful food (albeit slutty at times). Okay, you tell good stories too. Happy New Year!
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
thanks gingerroot and Happy New Years to you too!
fiveandspice December 29, 2010
Good heavens! Wow. Did you write short stories for the New Yorker in addition to all your other impressive jobs in your pre-farming-fathering days? What a turn of phrase! You very much make me wish I could eat lentils, and I have to admit that not much does.
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
no I have never written for anyone. I read lots of books though.
vvvanessa December 29, 2010
you are the consummate pimp of slutty lentils.
thirschfeld December 30, 2010
thanks vvvanessa, I have never been called a pimp before
lastnightsdinner December 29, 2010
For the love of Pete, someone please just give this man his own food show, already?
thirschfeld December 29, 2010
You are to kind, really
hardlikearmour December 29, 2010
plus, then his cooking would be work!
mrslarkin December 29, 2010
Dang, thirschfeld. Me so hungry now.
thirschfeld December 29, 2010
Mrslarkin I am so laughing out loud.
betteirene December 29, 2010
Whew, is it hot in here, or is it you? I feel dirty. In a good way. If anyone ever writes a romance novel about forbidden passion in a kitchen, I hope they tag you to write the blurb on the book jacket.

I usually do a cassoulet for New Year's Day. I've just decided to do this instead.
thirschfeld December 29, 2010
I think you will like it and thanks
hardlikearmour December 29, 2010
Funny, there was a foodpickle question about what to do with fresh ham hocks today. Good timing!
thirschfeld December 29, 2010
lots of things you can do with fresh hocks