Petit Sale aux Lentilles (Little Salt with Lentils – Cured Pork Belly with Lentils)

So this is a recipe from watching the Rick Stein show. I rarely cook french food, or what I think french food is. I have always thought of it as fussy. But not this one. The show called it petit sale, and from what I understand, it means a little salt. Well, actually, the entirety of the recipe calls for a lot of salt in the curing part. But not anymore in the final dish.

All the vegetables, just dumped in
All the vegetables, just dumped in

The dish calls for a cured whole bacon belly. (I still pity people who are unable to get this cut of meat like we easily do here). It is cured, like bacon, for four hours. Then rinsed and cooked with the vegetables and sausage, then followed by the lentils.

Some recipes I have discovered cook the lentils separately, but that just sounds like a lot of fuss for nothing. You just have to learn how to time when to add the vegetables! Which I did. I followed the general directions of the recipe but tweaked it a bit to improve it to my liking. I have used this recipe as a guide, but will be posting my own recipe below.

First, I lightly browned the meat for added texture and color. Once browned on all sides, I covered it in 1 liter of water. This will need to soften for about an hour or so (I ended up cooking it for an hour and 30 minutes). Then at about the 50 minute mark, I added everything else, vegetables, lentils, and sausages. Then this was allowed to cook until the lentils are done, and that was it.

Looks really good
Looks really good but

I plated the lentils on a wide plate, then topped this with slices of the pork belly. This was simple and clean tasting, very fuss free. If I can find more French recipes like this, I will be more open to making them (but hey, I have tried souffle). 🙂

Petit Sale aux Lentilles Recipe

1 kilo pork belly, cured in salt for 4 hours (I used my dry cure mix from Charcuterie)
1 to 2 liters of stock (please make sure it is unsalted
5 stalks celery, minced
6 baby carrots, sliced into 3
5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
10 shallots or 2 onions, peeled (quarter the big onions)
2 smoked sausages, sliced
300 grams lentils
parsley, to be added last
salt, pepper to taste

After rinsing the pork belly of the salt cure, lightly brown it in a pot big enough to hold all the vegetables. Cover with a liter of the stock and allow to tenderize for about an hour. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and allow for everything to soften. Make sure the lentils are cooked through. Add in more stock if needed. Check on salt, and add seasoning as needed. Place lentils as bed for the meat and top with slices of the pork belly. Yummy on its own 🙂

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