Florence Dalia, chef de cuisine of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Taipei recently took to Instagram to share a nostalgic dish from her childhood years in France: petit salé aux lentilles, a hearty stew of green lentils and salted pork.
"This dish reminds me of my childhood. My mother used to cook it for my family and it was one of my favourite dishes back then," says the Burgundy native. The stew is a quintessential French countryside dish served in almost every home and beloved for its cheap and easily accessible ingredients and ease of cooking. "It does not require any specific kitchen equipment and you can adapt it quickly to your taste, replacing the pork with duck leg confit, for example," she shares. "Not only do the lentils taste good, they have a lot of nutritional benefits too. Lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and also an excellent source of protein."
"This recipe is easy and it does not require a long time in the kitchen. It's a great way to show that everybody can cook and eat healthy food even if they are not a chef. I want to encourage people to cook more and avoid junk food," says Dalia, pointing out that this was especially important for health in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. "A lot of my friends were asking me for recipes because they now have more time to cook and cooking helps give them a sense of motivation during these hard times. It was a way to support everybody and share my love of cooking with them."
Petit salé aux lentilles
French Green Lentil Stew With Salted Pork
Fresh pork belly or knuckle
240g green lentils
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 grains black pepper
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme and rosemary tied in a green leek)
Salt to taste
For the pork:
1. Put the meat in a large container and cover with coarse salt. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for two days.
2. Rinse the salted pork in cold water and drain.
3. In a large casserole dish, prepare a stock with the onion, garlic, peeled carrot, pepper and bouquet garni.
4. When boiling, add in the meat. Remove the impurities on the surface with a small ladle or by using a spoon during the cooking and let it boil gently for two hours.
For the stew:
1. Wash the lentils.
2. Fry the onions in a pan with garlic and a dash of olive oil.
3. Add the lentils and five times their volume of water.
4. Add the sliced carrots, pepper and bouquet garni.
5. When the pot comes to a boil, salt slightly and then reduce the heat and cook over medium heat for about 25-30 minutes (depending on your taste and the quality of the lentils).
6. Cut the salted pork into thin slices of bacon. In a saucepan, melt a little salted butter then cook the chopped shallots for 1 to 2 minutes and add the bacon. Fry till golden brown.
7. Add the lentils in the pan with the pork and add two ladles with the cooking broth to bring out more flavour.
8. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Photos courtesy of Florence Dalia.
This story was written by Hsieh Ming-ling and translated by Rachel Tan. Click here to read the original article.