Put the onion, the bouquet garni, the meat (soaked in cold water for 15 minutes) and the pepper in a large pot and cover with water. Slowly bring to a boiling point and leave to cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes being careful to remove any froth that forms on the surface. After one hour has gone by you may add the sausage, pricking it first in several places so that it will cook evenly.
Cook the bacon strips and the pearl onions in a saucepan.
Sweat the mixture for 5 min and then add the lentils, bayleaf, some pepper and cover with twice the volume of water. DO NOT SALT !!!
Keep cooking for approximately 1/2 hour and taste the lentils from time to time. Once they are tender you may add some fine salt.
There are 2 ways you can serve this dish:
You may either place the drained lentils in a dish and then add the pieces of meat and sausage on top... or you may serve the meat separately and serve the lentils with some vinaigrette, as well as some chopped herbs.
You may also serve these lentils with a nice grilled salmon steak or with an escalope of duck foie gras, simply divine! You may also blend the lentils to make a soup, adding some diced smoked duck (it is also excellent if you can add some diced and cooked foie gras too).
PS: Many colleagues recommend not to soak lentils but I believe that soaking is an essential step in order to succeed in giving this dish a smooth consistency.
credits photo : Patrick.Asfaux© A.F.Touch