I see from my previous post on this subject that I recommended simmering bacon hock in a heavy, uncovered pan, so that only a bubble or two rose to the surface of the liquid. The theory is that this sub-boiling temperature is quite sufficient to tenderise the meat, whereas a faster boil might dry it out.
That is the theory. But yesterday, I simmered a bacon hock for two hours in water that showed scarcely any activity, and discovered when it was on the plate that it was not as tender as I had hoped. I suspect that, despite the science, a covered pan would have produced a more pleasing result.
I covered the hock with several cms to spare, so that I could ladle off some of the liquid for cooking lentils. I had soaked the lentils (Puy; 100g, for 2) for two hours – they cook more readily after this treatment, I find. I barely covered them with the stock, and simmered them, with an unpeeled garlic clove, in a covered pan, topping up the liquid when they threatened to dry out. Meanwhile, I softened an onion with a clove of chopped garlic in olive oil. When the lentils were soft (after about 30 minutes), I tipped them on to the onion, allowing them to simmer further until there remained just enough liquid to moisten them. I squeezed the garlic from its skin, and stirred it in. Because of the saltiness of the bacon, the lentils needed only a little salt, but benefited from several grindings of pepper.