Petit salé aux lentilles is a staple dish from Northern France, the area that provides the best in Gallic winter warmers. It is a superb filler for a winter's night, it needs precious little preparation and is cheap to boot. Serving this with a dry cider, followed by a Calvados brandy is guaranteed to thaw out the extremities that other food cannot reach.
- 1 Large knuckle of gammon (salted ham)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, cut into wedges
- 2 Sticks of celery sliced
- 2 bayleaves
- Ground pepper
- 2pts Vegetable stock
- 1 Small packet green Puy lentils
Place the knuckle in a large saucepan of cold water - ensuring that the water covers the meat - and bring to the boil. Simmer for one hour.
When the hour is up, drain the water and rinse the knuckle in cold water.
Place stock, vegetables, bayleaves and pepper in the pan and add the knuckle. Top up with water until the meat is just covered.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add the lentils and simmer.
After 40 minutes, the lentils should be cooked, and the liquid should be mostly absorbed, leaving behind a 'gravy'. If the lentils need a little more juice, just add more stock/water.
Before serving, break up the meat and stir into the lentil mix. Serve with crusty bread and unsalted butter