3/4 lbs. Jambon de Paris
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Salt and black pepper
10 saffron threads
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup French green lentils or brown lentils
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1 cup white basmati rice
3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coriander seeds
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sugar, pepper, saffron, and turmeric and cook, stirring, until a shade darker, about 1 minute.Stir in the lentils, and then add the broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, bring back to a simmer, and then cook, covered, over low heat until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender, about 22 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ginger, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring often, until very browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes. When the rice and lentils are ready, sprinkle the ham on top, cover, and set aside off the heat to warm the ham through, about 10 minutes.
Use a fork to fluff the rice-lentil mixture, and season to taste with salt. Serve topped with the onions and sprinkled with the vinegar.
Recipe credits: Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein