On Thursday night Alberto and I had our friend Neil over for a spot of dinner. I wanted to do something new and, as I had the day off I decided to cook something that took a bit longer than was normally possible. Unfortunately my plans were slightly set back by by the fact that, apparently, we had an undiscovered leak, which resulted in two (rather sexy) plumbers, turning up for over 6 hours in an attempt to find it. As a result we ended up not having dinner until nearly 9pm. Still, the end result was tasty, which is all that matters in the end.
A couple of the ingredients proved a touch difficult. It called for a small salt pork knuckle and some juniper berries. The salt pork knuckle was tricky, but a helpful local butcher suggested a bacon knuckle. The only ones they had were quite large so I ended up cutting it in half and once the cooking was done I cut some of the meat from the bone and served it with the main dish. I couldn’t find any juniper berries at all so sadly it went without. I did consider putting a slug of gin in the dish, but in the end I decided against it.
1kg of belly pork, cut into thick slices
1 small salt pork knuckle
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
200g of swede, peeled and cut into chunks (I omitted this, as the saucepan I have was too full already)
100g of leek, white part only, cut into thick slices
1 parsnip, cut into chunks
1 onion, studded with four cloves
1 garlic clove
1 bouquet garni sachet
2 bay leaves
6 juniper berries
350g of puy lentils
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
Put the pork in a large saucepan, with all the ingredients except for the lentils and parsley. Stir well and then add enough water to just cover the ingredients, Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and and leave to simmer gently, for 1 and a ¼ hours, stirring occasionally.
Pop the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Add to the pan, stir well to combine, replace the lid and simmer for a further 45 minutes, until the pork and lentils are tender.
Drain the contents of the saucepan into a colander, discarding the liquid. Discard the onion and bay leaves and then return the contents of the colander to the saucepan, season the pork with black pepper, then stir in the parsley.