Some would argue that pork belly is the pig’s greatest gift to us. The French have found many ways to prove that point, but we think ventrèche makes the strongest argument.
Ventrèche is pork belly that has been rubbed with salt, pepper and garlic, rolled up into a log shape, tied and then cured.
Similar to pancetta, ventrèche is beautifully marbled pork with a firm texture. The flavor is rich, salty and very porky.
Since it is not smoked, this is the perfect charcuterie to use in cooking. One of the vital ingredients in cassoulet, ventrèche can bring flavor and dimension to stews, soups and beans.
But you’ll discover myriad ways to work this one into your kitchen routine.
Just the facts
- Dry-cured with salt (contains nitrites)
- Sold in an uncooked state
- Product of USA
- Remove plastic casing/wrapping before eating
- For best taste, use within 3-5 days of receipt and/or by the expiration date on the package
Often referred to as “French pancetta,” ventrèche (prounounced vahn tresh), is an unsmoked, salt-cured bacon from the Gascony region of Southwest France.
A few chunks of ventrèche will bring flavor and dimension to stews, soups and beans, which is the reason it is a vital ingredient in our cassoulet recipe. Ventrèche, when seared, offers a foundation of flavor to the classic recipes for coq au vin and beef bourguignon.
Diced ventrèche tossed into a dry, hot cast iron pan can be the start of a wonderful vegetable sauté; or use the crispy lardons as a salad topper or tossed into pasta with grated Parmesan cheese. Try it sliced thickly, like Canadian bacon, and seared on a griddle to accompany eggs for breakfast or brunch.
D’Artagnan ventrèche has a thin plastic casing, which gives the bacon a uniform shape while curing and keeps the outer skin supple and fresh until you’re ready to cut the plastic away. Our ventrèche can be refrigerated for up to 30 days, making it easy to use as you wish in a variety of recipes throughout the month.