L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS by George Geary

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Lentil Soup with Roasted Pork – Pig ‘n Whistle
Serves 8

This hearty broth was the Pig ‘n Whistle’s signature soup, selling for just five cents a bowl. Lentils were inexpensive, and the pork added a lot of flavor without the high cost.

8 strips Applewood-smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
¾ tsp. dried thyme
46 oz. chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid) cook the bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of the fat.
  2. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes, added more water if needed.
  4. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Hobo Steak – Chasen’s
Serves 2

Dave Chasen developed this unusual treatment for New York steak, which produces a rich, tender, and memorable dish.

1 large New York steak, cut 3 inches thick
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pieces Applewood-smoked bacon
1 cup sea salt
2 tbsp. water
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. loaf sourdough French bread, sliced ¼ inch thick and toasted

  1. Season the steak with pepper. Wrap the sides with the bacon and secure with kitchen string. Place in a baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine salt and water to make a paste. Mound about three-fourths of the mixture on top of the steak, covering the meat completely. Place the steak under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the salt crust; try to keep it in one piece. Turn the steak over and place the crust on top. (if the crust breaks, mend it with the remaining one-fourth of the salt mixture.) Broil the steak again for another 8 to 10 minutes; the salt crust will become dark and dry-looking.
  4. Discard the bacon and the salt crust. Let the meat stand for 15 minutes, then slice on the diagonal.
  5. In a large skillet, melt the butter until foamy and lightly browned. Place a few pieces of the meat in the butter and cook to desired doneness, about 1 minute on each side. Place each slice of meat on a piece of toast and spoon some of the hot butter over it.
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