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Warm lentil & ham hock salad recipe

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Adjust Servings:
For the Ham Hocks
2 Ham hocks or knuckles, about 850g–1kg (1lb 14oz–2lb 4oz) each
2 Carrots , chopped into chunks
1 Leeks , chopped into chunks
1 Onion , chopped into chunks
3 Celery sticks, chopped into chunks
3 ripe Tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
For the Lentils
12 oz (350 g) Puy Lentils
18 fl oz (500 ml) Ham -hock cooking liquor
18 fl oz (500 ml) Vegetable Broth
2 tsp Cumin Seeds , finely ground
For the Vegetables
3 tbsp light Olive Oil
2 Shallots , finely chopped
1 small Carrots , finely chopped
2 Celery sticks, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
For the Mayonnaise
5 fl oz (150 ml) Ham -hock cooking liquor
2 medium Egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
9 fl oz (250 ml) light Olive Oil
Grinding of White Pepper
Sea Salt
For the Salad
12 sun-blush Tomatoes , quartered
1 handful curly Parsley leaves, chopped
1 small handful Mint leaves, finely shredded
To Garnish
1 large bunch Watercress , leaves and thin stalks
2 heads Chicory , sliced lengthways into thin shards

Warm lentil & ham hock salad recipe

  • Serves 6
  • Medium


  • For the Ham Hocks

  • For the Lentils

  • For the Vegetables

  • For the Mayonnaise

  • For the Salad

  • To Garnish



This dish takes a little time to make, but it’s very simple. Earthy lentils combine with the earthy-citrus notes of cumin. Sweet, tender ham adds texture and contrast, while sun-blush tomatoes, parsley and fresh mint add a clean lift at the end. The use of hot ham stock in the mayonnaise emulsion balances the dish, coating peppery salad leaves for freshness and bite.



To cook the ham hocks, put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to a simmer over a low heat, partially cover and allow to bubble gently for 4–5 hours until the meat is meltingly tender and soft. Top up the water from time to time to ensure it doesn’t go below the level of the meat, skimming away the foam.


Leave the hocks in the cooking liquor until cool enough to handle, then remove to a plate. Strain the liquor into a large measuring jug.


Put the lentils, cooking liquor, stock and cumin seeds in a large heavy-based saucepan. Bring up to a gentle bubble and cook over a low heat, partially covered, for about 20 minutes until only a couple of teaspoons of liquid run around the pan and the lentils are only just soft. Remove from the heat, cover completely, then set aside and keep warm


Heat the olive oil in a sauté or frying pan, then add the vegetables and garlic and cook over a medium–low heat for a couple of minutes. Tip out onto a plate, set aside and keep warm.


To make the mayonnaise, heat the cooking liquor in a small saucepan to a gentle bubble. Put the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the processor on slow, slowly trickle the oil down the spout. With the processor still running, carefully trickle in the hot ham stock, then add the white pepper and salt to taste. (Alternatively, make the mayo in a bowl, using a balloon whisk and plenty of elbow grease.)


If not using immediately, allow to cool, pour into a sterilised jar and put a circle of greaseproof paper on the top of the dressing. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge. It keeps for at least two weeks.


When ready to serve, remove the jellied skin from the ham hocks and chop into small dice, then pull off the meat, trying to keep it in nice strips.


Warm the dressing, if necessary. Put the lentils, vegetables and salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add a small handful of the chopped hock skin, together with about 2 tablespoons of the warm dressing – just enough to coat. Gently mix all the ingredients together.


In another bowl, combine the watercress and chicory with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.


Serve the warm lentils and ham in generous amounts with some dressed salad leaves.


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