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Pinto Bean and Squash Stew- need a Vegetarian subsitiute for salt Pork

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So I have this very intriguing Russ Parsons recipe that I want to give a whirl but I want to make the stew vegetarian. It past veggie trasitions I have used smoked salt and butter in the place of Bacon and Boca Italian Sausage in place of chirizo. Both subsitiuions work well. But haveing never tasted salt pork I'm not sure what I I am in search of?? Is it fat as well as salt or are there other flavors that are important??
If you have a subsititution suggestion I'd love it! also if you have used Salt Pork and understand what role it plays in your dishes I'd like to know.Thanks

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    1. re: jaykayen

      Well, not exactly, since salt pork is not smoked. But many recipes have variations where salt pork and bacon are interchanged, so seems like smoked salt and butter would be a good way to go for a vegetarian dish.

      Poached, I don't know what Boca italian sausage tastes like, but you might add a little smoked paprika to get a more chorizo-like flavor.

    2. For traditional Boston Baked Beans, I substitute olive oil for the salt pork. My sister is a veggie, so I have to serve an alternative at every holiday meal. I have to say, it is really delicious. Obviously, I add kosher salt when using olive oil [which I don't add at all when using salt pork.] Perhaps this would work for you?

      1. Maybe some seaweed (kelp, dulse, or kombu, etc.) for the saltiness and some hemp or flax oil added at serving time?

        1. Salt pork is quite flavourful so the butter and smoked salt will be good but may not be enough. I veggied a recipe yesterday and instead of pancetta I just used olive oil and garlic. Not really a substitute but I wanted to kick up the back ground flavour and the garlic really did the trick.
          You may also want to think about a sesame oil for some back ground flavour too.

          DT

          2 Replies
          1. re: Davwud

            Yep the Butter and the smoked salt didn't quite do the trick- I think I needed some more background. Next time I'll double up the garlic and possibly add in the sesame oil. Good idea

            1. re: poached

              Maybe some fresh herbs too.

              Did you brown the butter?? It's one of those tricks that makes things taste better but you can't put your finger on why.

              Like I said, IMHO the idea isn't to swap out the salt pork but fill the void left by it.

              DT

          2. Brown onions in olive oil at the beginning, and maybe add some extra onions or garlic to add another layer of flavor. Use good quality olive oil to give it some richness. And try a meaty, dense squash like kabocha as well as freshly dried (not stale) pinto beans -- the purity and quality of the ingredients will shine through and you won't miss the salt pork.