POMMES DE TERRE AU LARD: Potatoes With Bacon

   

Lard actually means bacon in French, rather than the rendered pig fat that the word means in English.  This can be confusing sometimes.  The word for lard in French is saindoux.  With all the potatoes in the garden, and the bacon curing process finally finished, I decided to give this recipe a try.

When I read the title of the recipe, I assumed it would be potatoes fried with bacon, similar to the last recipe of POMMES DE TERRE A LA MAITRE D’HOTEL, in which the potatoes are parboiled, and then fried until crisp in melted butter. But this recipe turns out to be potatoes cooked in a rich gravy.

Mashed potatoes and gravy was my favorite food when I was a child, so I found potatoes cooked in gravy just delightful.  However, there was some disappointment among the children when it was discovered that we were actually NOT having fried potatoes for dinner.  Afterwards, when pressed for an opinion, the general vote was that it turned out to be “good,” which can be considered a high compliment when coming from these three of particular taste and exacting standards. And, unfortunately, this dish had to be removed from Ethan last night before he made himself ill with a fourth helping.

 POMMES DE TERRE AU LARD

Cut 125 grams of bacon into pieces, and sautée with 30 grams of fresh butter.  Sprinkle with a spoonful of flour, stir and allow to brown, wet with two cups of broth, salt, pepper, and add your potatoes which are washed, wiped dry, and cut into quarters, a bouquet of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, cover and let cook over a low fire for an hour.

Potatoes With Bacon

1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
2 cups of broth
salt and pepper to taste
About 3 lbs of potatoes, washed, wiped dry, and cut into quarters
fresh parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
1.  In either a frying pan with good sides, or a medium pot with a wide bottom, put the bacon on to fry with the tablespoon of butter.  When some of the fat has melted out of the bacon, sprinkle the tablespoon of flour over.
2.  Cook the flour, butter, and bacon together, stirring here and there, as the flour and bacon get slightly toasty.
3.  Add the two cups of broth, and stir to avoid lumps.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  It should thicken into a gravy.  Add the quartered potatoes, and tuck the herbs and the bay leaf in.
4.  Cover and cook on low heat for about an hour.
Notes: Our bacon is quite salty enough, so I did not add any extra salt.  Also, the potatoes from the garden were small and tender, and it only took about 25-30 minutes for them to be fully cooked.  I would also suggest stirring every so often, as they tended to want to stick a bit on the bottom towards the end of cooking.

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

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