Estonian recipes: Barley with Smoked Pork (vastlapuder)

Lenten porridge (Barley porridge with bacon) / Vastlapuder / Kruubipuder suitsulihakuubikutega
February 2012

It's Shrove Tuesday today, and I'm sharing a traditional Estonian Shrove Tuesday recipe with you. You'll need exactly three ingredients - pearl barley, smoked pork and water (and some salt to taste, if necessary). Cheap, simple, filling, flavoursome, and surprisingly delicious :)

You'll need a good chunk of smoked pork - ribs are perfect, though I've often used a fattier smoked cheek. This particular piece of meat is called maasuitsuribi (country-smoked ribs) in Estonian:

Smoked pork ribs / Maasuitsuribi

Note that this porridge reheats rather well - just slowly warm it until piping hot on your frying pan. I like to serve this with some sour cream.

Barley Porridge with Smoked Pork
Serves four to six

Lenten porridge (Barley porridge with bacon) / Vastlapuder / Kruubipuder suitsulihakuubikutega

200 g smoked pork (rib, cheek or thickly cut bacon)
175 g pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 l boiling water
salt, to taste

Cut the smoked pork into dice:

Cubed smoked pork cheek / Suitsupõsk, vastlapudru jaoks

Fry the pork cubes in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, until browned and slightly crispened. (Drain off the excess oil, if necessary - various cuts of pork are rather different. Leave about a tablespoon or two of pork fat).
Add the pearl barley and sauté for about a minute, stirring.
Add the boiling water. Reduce heat, cover the pan with a lid. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour, stirring couple of times, until the barley is just ever so lightly al dente (you don't want it to go too mushy).
Taste for seasoning, add some salt, if necessary.

Lenten porridge (smoked pork cheek, barley) / Vastlapuder
February 2008

Yellow split pea soup with smoked pork
Traditional lenten buns
Lenten buns with raspberries and marzipan
Chocolate-y lenten buns
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