SERVES 4 TO 6
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs, toasted
1 cup lentils or mixed lentils
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 pound ham from a ham bone, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup non-fat half-and-half
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup minced parsley
Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 4 to 5-cup springform pan or casserole dish. Coat it with the bread crumbs and refrigerate.
Pour the lentils into a saucepan, cover with 2 1/2 cups of water and cook until tender. Drain the lentils in a colander and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter in a sauté pan, stir in the onions and cook them until they are transparent. Stir in the ham and lentils and cook for 2 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
In a saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Slowly pour in the half-and-half, whisking constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the remaining salt and the parsley and remove the sauce from the heat. Add the ham and lentils to the sauce and then the egg yolks, stirring them in one at a time.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Pour the mixture into the mold and smooth out the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Unmold the timbale onto a serving dish and serve hot.
Note: Prosciuto may be used in place of the ham.
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