Long-lasting love : Salted pork with lentils

What a Valentine’s Day!
I can’t believe have just been dumped by my oven as I was getting ready for our weekly bread-baking date. Not a word of warning, no foreboding signs whatsoever… Not even a post-it with few pathetic words scribbled on it…

My heart broke as I started assessing how much I had lost: no more sourdough, no more pizza, roasted veggies, quiches and cakes…

But Valentine’s day is no day to feel blue. Thanks god, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. Hello rice cooker, hello pans, hello cocottes….

My loyal cast-iron cocotte stood by me in this hardship and we have worked wonders together. It soothed my dismay as I could at last foresee a long-lasting cooking partnership, no risk of blown fuses with this one !

900g petit salé ( salted pork chops – quite special to France, might not be available every where. Then normal pork chops will do )
250g lentils ( du Puy )
100g smoked bacon
3 onions
4 cloves
2 carrots
Thyme, bay leaves
Salt, peppercorns, mustard for degustation.

1. If you managed to buy the salted meat, you will have to freshen it in water to avoid to get too salty a taste. Let it rest in cold water for 8 hours, changing the water 2 to 3 times. Then drain it.
If you got normal pork, you can skip that preparation stage but you will need to season the meat slightly more.
2. Prepare the onions: peel the outer skin off and stick the cloves in them.
Prepare the carrots: peel them and slice them lengthwise.
3. Place the meat in the cast-iron cocotte. Cover generously with water. Bring to the boil and skim the foam that might appear on the surface.
4. Add in the carrots, onions, peppercorns and herbs. Let it simmer for about 2 hours.
5. In the meantime in a separate pan prepare the lentils. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Add an onion with clove, bay leaves and thyme and some salt. Let it simmer according to the instructions on the package. It can vary between 25 to 40 min depending on the kind of lentils.
6. Prepare the bacon: slice thinly and fry in a pan with the last chopped onion and some salt.
7. Once the lentils are cooked, still slightly firm, drain them and remove the herbs. Add them in the pan with the bacon and pour 20cl of the meat stock. Let it cook a few minutes.
8. Remove the meat from the cocotte and slice it.
9. Prepare your dish : lay the meat on the lentils and serve warm, with love ❤️