I know it’s perverse and wrong of me but ever since I read this story:
PARIS – Pig’s tail, pig’s feet and other pig parts, all tossed into a pot with turnips, carrots and onions. Perfumed with smoked bacon and served steaming hot. Delicious!
Small groups linked to the extreme right are ladling pork soup to France’s homeless. Critics and some officials denounce the charity as discriminatory: because it contains pork, the soup is off-limits for Muslims.
Critics view the stew — dubbed “identity soup” by its cooks — as a cynical far-right ploy to penetrate the most vulnerable level of society while masking their intentions as humanitarian.
The associations offering the soup are satellites of Bloc Identitaire, a small, extreme-right movement that defends the European identity and, as its leader Fabrice Robert said, “the rights of the little whites.”
“It’s not that we don’t like Muslims. It’s a problem of critical mass,” Robert said in a telephone interview. “Just 1,000 Muslims in France poses no problem, but 6 million poses a big problem.”
The country’s Muslim population — the largest in western Europe — is estimated at 5 million, many of them French citizens.
The associations deny any ties to the far-right National Front party, which opposes Muslim immigration and built its reputation around the theme of “French first.”
Still, the National Front salutes the pork soup project.
“One has the right to be charitable toward whom one wants,” said Bruno Gollnisch, the party’s No. 2. Moves to forbid soup kitchens offering pork reveal authorities’ “alienation” from the French people, he said.
Pork soup is an age-old staple of the rural heartland from which all the French, at least in the national imagination, are said to spring.
The groups dishing up the soup say their victuals are no more than traditional French cuisine and deny they are serving up a message of racial hatred — a crime in France — or that they would refuse soup to a hungry Muslim or Jew.
In Strasbourg, pork soup was banned this month after officials deemed it could disrupt public order.
I’ve been simply obsessed with pork soup.
Here’s a recipe for you.
Potée bourguignonne (Pork Soup)
½ lb. salt pork, chopped fine
2 pig’s knuckles (pork hock, or what-have-you)
6 sausages (good frankfurters, knockwurst, or similar)
2 leeks (white only) thoroughly cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
1 medium cabbage, cleaned and chopped
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
Bouquet garni (thyme, bay, parsley bound together with string)
Salt and pepper
- In a large soup pot render the salt pork out a little over low to medium heat. Do not brown!
- Add the onion, leeks, carrot, sausages, and pig’s knuckle and saute for three minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the turnips and potatoes, cover with 3 quarts of water, and bring to the simmer.
- Add salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Reduce the heat, cover partially, and allow to simmer for 1 hour 40 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and turnips and simmer for an additional half hour.
- Remove the bouquet garni and the pig’s knuckles (unless you’ve got a pig’s knuckles sort of group), adjust the seasoning, and serve.
You’ll probably want to delay peeling and cutting the potatoes until you’re ready to cook them to prevent them from discoloring.
I recommend some good hearty dark bread with this soup. Traditionally, this is eaten with mustard (for the sausages) and cornichons.