August 11, 2022

Italian pork sausages and ham hock, chick peas & beluga lentils

Take advantage of the remaining cold and rainy winter days with this next-level Italian casserole.

Italian pork sausages and ham hock, chick peas & beluga lentils
serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
4 fresh pork sausages
2 pork ribs
1 smoked ham hock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1L beef stock
2 tbsp duck fat or butter
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped into small dice
2 medium brown onions, diced
2 stems celery, diced
125g piece of pancetta, in one piece
125g piece of prosciutto, in one piece
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1 tin tomato pieces
8 sprigs parsley
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
250g beluga (black) lentils
1 small bunch spinach, washed, cut into strips
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
leaves of parsley, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a frypan and brown the sausages and ribs. Transfer to a large saucepan and add the smoked hock. Season well. Pour in the beef stock and add enough cold water to completely cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderate heat for one hour or until the meat is cooked.

In a very large casserole, heat the duck fat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, pancetta and prosciutto and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is golden, about 7 minutes. Add the head of garlic, the tomato and all the herbs and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the hock, browned sausages and meat and the stock and bring to a boil. Add the spinach strips. Cover the casserole and gently simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

At the end of this time, add the chick peas, beans and lentils to the pot and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Let the casserole cool a little. Pick out the sausages, ribs, ham hocks, pancetta and prosciutto. Remove the skin from the hock and shred the meat, cut the sausages and ribs into bite-size pieces, the pancetta and prosciutto should be cut into small dice; discard the bones, skin and gristle. Pick out the head of garlic and squeeze the cooked garlic cloves into a food processor. Using a slotted spoon, add half the cooked vegetables from the pot and process to a smooth paste. Stir the paste back into the casserole and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in all of the cooked meats. Add extra stock, or water, if the liquid is not enough.

Meanwhile, toss the fresh breadcrumbs with parsley and spread over the casserole. Dot with pieces of butter.

Just before serving, pop the casserole in a preheated, hot oven until the breadcrumbs are golden.


This recipe first appeared in the June 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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