Chicken & Lentil One-pot Wonder

17th September, 2019

My favourite kind of cooking are those minimal mess, one-pot dinners that are low maintenance, healthy and absolutely delicious. This recipe, curated from a traditional Palmero (my father’s heritage) recipe “Lentejas”, was originally a cheap, meat-free, hearty meal to which I have added chicken. I also sometimes add bacon lardons, spinach, chard, Cavolo Nero just to change it up a bit. The purists will hate it but this simple, uncomplicated dish will happily feed a family any time of year.

Serves 4 (or 3 plus 2 kids)

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken quarters
3 x 400g tins of green lentils
3 x cloves garlic
5 medium carrots (peeled and cut into chunks – I like to cut mine in the diagonal)
2 x sticks of celery (washed and finely sliced)
2 x medium brown onions (diced)
500ml good quality chicken stock (I make my own but a chicken stock cube dissolved in boiling water works just as well)
A small (125ml) glass of white wine or vermouth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper

A tbsp low-fat creme fraiche/plain yoghurt to serve

1. Start by putting the olive oil into an ovenproof pan with a lid (don’t worry if you don’t have a pan with a lid, you can use tin foil). Place the chicken quarters skin-side down into the pan. Season with a little of the salt and pepper. Sear the chicken for 3-5 minutes and then turn the chicken and repeat. You’re not cooking the chicken through, you’re just colouring it and crisping the skin. Remove the chicken to a plate.

2. Using the same pan, and oil, place your diced onions, celery and carrots in the pan. When the onions and celery have softened (around 5 minutes) add the minced garlic and sauté for a further 3-4 minutes. The carrots will not be cooked through but will have started to soften and taken in some colour.

3. Add the wine and let it sizzle and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, the lentils including the water they’re in. Bring to the boil and then add the chicken back to the pan.

4. Put a lid on the pan or cover tightly with foil (I would use 2 layers of foil here). Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 35 minutes. Remove the lid/foil and cook for a further 10 minutes in the oven.

5. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and a tablespoon of low-fat creme fraiche.

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