Salted pork with lentils (petit salé aux lentilles) is a French traditional and popular dish.
This recipe is a real classic in French family cuisine. For me, it is kind of a comfort dish as it really reminds me of my childhood and the delicious meals my mom cooked then (and still does when we get together).
So here is her version of this dish. And believe me, the hardest part of this recipe was not preparing the dish in itself but getting it out of my mom's head because she does everything intuitively. So when I asked her to tell me each step of the recipe and the quantities of each ingredient she got completely blocked. But after several attempts we finally got it out and written down!!
What is salted pork?
Salted pork (called "Petit salé" in French which means "little salty") is salt cured pork. Petit salé gets its name and its taste from a pork butcher tradition which consists in salting the pork meat to aid its conservation. Pieces of pork, like the "palette" (shoulder) and bacon, are immersed in a brine, a very salty kind of stock.
- salted pork hocks
- bouquet garni. It is a bunch of herbs (rosemary, thyme and bay leaves) used for flavoring stews or soups. In France, you can buy bouquets garnis already prepared for you at the grocery store or at the market. But you can also make your own bouquet garni. For example, you can use 6 bay leaves, about 5 small thyme branches and one rosemary branch. Do not hesitate to adjust the herbs quantities to your own taste. The making of a bouquet garni is not an exact science!
- green lentils
How to make this dish
- Rince the pork hocks with cold water to remove excess salt
- Pour the water in a large Dutch oven (or equivalent)
- Peel one onion and put it in the Dutch oven. Add the pork and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and let it cook for about 1h30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Peel the carrots and the second onion and cut them roughly.
- Rince the green lentils with cold water then transfer them to a saucepan with 5 times their volume of cold water. Add the carrots and onion. Bring to a boil and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. And voilà your salted pork with lentils is ready to be served! You can serve this with Dijon mustard if you want, as it is traditionally done here in France.