This deceptively light first course was the very first dish I ate in any restaurant on my first visit to Lyon many years ago. It was one of the first dishes I recreated after returning home - and it's something I make often. Adaptable, you can omit the gelatin and turn it into a salad. —ChefJune
8 to 10 servings
lentils (French green lentils from LePuy preferred)
medium onion stuck with 2 cloves
clove garlic, smashed with the side of a large chef’s knife
carrots, peeled and quartered
ham (of Prosciutto or Jambon de Bayonne quality) in a chunk
chicken feet or 1 fresh pig’s foot (necessary for the natural gelatin, as well as for flavor)
very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt to taste
dry white wine
envelope unflavored gelatin
In This Recipe
In a 6-quart pot place the lentils, and add enough water to cover. Bring the water slowly to the boil. Flavor with onion, garlic, carrots, Bouquet Garni, ham, freshly ground pepper, mace and the feet. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the water has evaporated. (Taste the lentils to see if they are done.)
When they are cooked, remove and discard the onion, feet and bouquet garni. Trim and dice the ham and return it to the lentils. Also, chop the carrots very small and add them to the mixture along with 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as you wish.
Dissolve the gelatin in the wine. Gently heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Carefully mix the gelatin mixture through the lentil mixture.
Pack the mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover the top with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours in the refrigerator, with a heavy can on the top to weight it down.
To serve: let terrine come to room temperature. Unmold on a serving platter and cut into eight to 10 even slices (using a serrated knife). Prepare each salad plate with a mesclun salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette. Place a slice of terrine slightly over one side of the salad. Garnish with cornichons and a dollop of grainy mustard. Serve with sliced, toasted baguette or Melba toasts.
Teacher’s Tip: If you are cooking for someone who cannot have alcohol, you may substitute low-fat, low salt chicken stock for the white wine. You will probably need even less salt in that case.
Wine Tip: Cool and fruity Beaujolais, such as Saint-Amour or Fleurie will star with this taste treat.