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"Petit salé" with Lentils

Gastronomy Auvergne

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  • “Petit salé” with Lentils

    “Petit salé” with Lentils

    “Salted” pork gets its name and its taste from a pork butcher tradition which consists in salting the pork meat to aid its conservation. © Photocuisine

  • the fine green Puy lentils

    the fine green Puy lentils

    For this dish, the “petit sale” meets another of Auvergne's “celebrities”: the fine green Puy lentils, with a slightly nutty but delicately sweet flavour. © Photocuisine

"Petit salé" ("Salted" pork) 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. This technique can also be applied to a large number of other products (fish, olives, eggs, etc.).

For this dish, the "petit salé" meets another of Auvergne's “celebrities”: the fine green Puy lentils, with a slightly nutty but delicately sweet flavour. Green, but also sometimes red or a lighter colour, several types of lentils are grown in France, all resistant to the high heats they are cooked at.

First, the "petit salé" must be desalted before it is cooked. It is then simmered in a casserole dish for a long time with various herbs and finally served with lentils supplemented with thinly sliced bacon, onions and carrots. This dish is best enjoyed with a rather dry wine with hints of red fruits, namely a Chénas or a Côtes-de-Bourg, for example.

Preparation time: 2 days + 1hr – Cooking time: 3hrs
Serves 6

• 3 salted pork hocks
• 750g salted pork belly

Aromatic garnish:

• 300g carrots
• 150g onions
• 230g celery
• 6 garlic cloves
• 2 cloves
• 1 bouquet garni
• Spices: 2 cloves, 1 tbsp. juniper berries, and 1 tbsp. peppercorns
• Salt and pepper

Accompaniment:

• 600g Puy lentils
• 100g pearl onions
• 2 chopped garlic cloves
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 75g duck or goose fat

1. Two days before cooking, soak the pork hocks and pork belly in cold water, refreshing the water several times. The following day, prepare the vegetables used in the aromatic garnish, peeling and cutting them before soaking in water, together with the hocks, for 24 hours.
2.
On the day, poach the meat in boiling water, then drain. Recover with water, add the herbs and bring to the boil. After removing the froth, which has formed on the surface of the stock, leave to cook for 2½ hrs. Sieve the stock and keep the herbs to one side.
3.
Wash the lentils in cold water, then place them in a large saucepan with 3 times their volume of cooked meat stock. Cook for 30 minutes: it should swell and become tender.
4.
In a large casserole dish used for serving, brown the onions, garlic and tomatoes in the goose fat before pouring in the lentils and leaving to cook for 5 minutes on a high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover the meat with the lentils, garnish with a pinch of parsley and serve.

Recommended wine: a rather tannic wine with notes of red fruit, for example a Chénas or a Côtes-de-Bourg.