Jan 1: ‘Frenchish’ lunch; Pork hock and Lentil Soup


Today we went for a walk in the local Burbank area and picked up a baguette from Jons supermarket, along with some liverwurst, irish cheddar and a tomato. Fortunately the baguette is one of best we’ve found in the US. You probably really have to go to France to get a great one.

The trip to Munich last September rekindled our love of liverwurst and it’s also available at Jons. So lunch was little rounds of baguette, with either liverwurst spread, or a cheddar/tomato combination. Eat until full.

Dinner: Pork hock and lentil soup

Having lentil soup for the New Year is traditional among many South American countries like Brazil and Ecuador. Beans are symbolic of money, and the pork, of progress, so pork and lentil dishes are common. In fact some combination of pork and beans is common in even more countries.

Greg found tonight’s recipe in a book he found at his mother’s home in Australia during his last trip there. He took a photo of the recipe so I can’t appropriately credit it.

It serves four and keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. In the image above you can just see the pork shoulder poking through.

Ingredients cost us about $10 excluding the parmesan for the pesto, which we didn’t make. That’s about $2.50 a serve. Don’t wait for the next New Year to try it. It was very, very good.


  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced (20c)
  • 1 leek, washed and finely cut  (50c)
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and finely diced, or 1 cup of chopped celery. We opted for celery for the faster cooking time. ($1 for a bunch so 3 sticks is about 25c)
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, crushed. You should smell this cooking! (20c)
  • 2.5 tablespoons of oil. The recipe suggest Olive oil, but we prefer to use Coconut oil because it’s more stable at higher temperatures. (20c)
  • 200g (8 oz) red lentils, well washed and drained (Half a 1 lb pack for $2.50 or $1.25)
  • 1/2 tsp of (freshly) grated nutmeg. There really is no substitute for fresh with nutmeg  (5c)
  • 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds.  (5c)
  • 6 Tbsp of chopped parsley (15c)
  • 3 Tbsp of chopped mint (10c or less if you grow it yourself)
  • 1 bacon hock, fat trimmed or removed. We substituted pork neck. ($4.51 or $2.99 lb)
  • 1 liter (2 pints) chicken, veal or vegetable stock. In other words, a flavorsome liquid. ($2.50)
  • 60 g (a generous 2 oz) grated parmesan cheese
  • Pepper to taste


  • In a stock pot or large saucepan gently cook the carrots, leak, celeriac (or celery) and garlic in 1 Tbsp oil for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add drained lentils and store, while continuing to cook for about 30 seconds. Grate and stir in nutmeg and fennel.
  • Stir in about 2 Tbsp of the parsley and 1 Tbsp of the mint. Keep the rest for the pesto sauce.
  • Add the bacon hock (or pork neck) and stock. Put on the lid and simmer soup slowly for 1.5 hours.
  • Make up a pesto sauce by pounding in a mortar (or blender which is a heck of a lot easier, but more washing up) the remaining parsley and mint, with the parmesan cheese and 1/5 Tbsp oil, until a smooth past is achieved. Season with pepper.
  • When the hock or neck is cooked, remove and cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

To serve

Put bacon pieces into individual soup bowls, and then pour the soup over the meat and top with a spoonful of the pesto sauce. Although truth be told we skipped the pesto sauce.

Accompany with crusty bread.

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