I decided to make this dish because first of all, I had two humungous chicken breasts that I needed to cook, plus I had some beluga lentils that I wanted to try. Beluga lentils are black lentils that have lots of antioxidants because of their color, and like all lentils, they’re great for fiber and protein too.
Another reason why I wanted to make this dish is because I won a cast iron dutch oven at a silent auction in the Spring of this year and I have used it exactly once…so feeling bad about that, I thought I would dust it off and put it to good use. Isn’t she a beaut?
Chicken and lentils are natural partners, and the things I love about this recipe are that not only is it done in one pot – so it’s not a huge mess in the kitchen, but also it’s really inexpensive and easy. It uses a lot of ingredients that are already in a lot of kitchens, except for maybe the Herbes de Provence and the bay leaves, which can be used in multiple dishes and therefore are good investments (but not necessarily expensive, either).
I searched for chicken and lentil recipes and ended up adapting mine from one on the site www.morethangourmet.com. Most of the recipes I looked at were exactly the same (although not as entertaining as the one you’re currently reading).
The cooking method used here is braising, which is cooking slowly in liquid. This method ensures that meats – even tough ones – come out tender and yummy. You can throw all sorts of legumes and vegetables into a braise, so it’s a complete meal.
There are multiple steps in the recipe and quite a few ingredients, but please don’t let that scare you. It’s really easy. I promise. You can’t screw this one up.
Shockingly, even my ‘selective’ and ‘neophobic’ 4 year old gobbled this dish down. Looks like it’s a winner!
As far as the ingredients that I chose, I already mentioned the beluga lentils. You can really use any colour of dry lentils you want.
The wine I used was literally the cheapest plonk I could find at the store. As long as it’s a dry white, who cares?
I used chicken breasts because that’s what I had, and as mentioned earlier they were massive, so each breast served two people. You can use any part of the chicken you want, so thighs, drumsticks, etc would work. Just leave the skin on.
I would not recommend skinless boneless chicken breasts because they’re too quick-cooking and not fatty enough.
This recipe is healthy, too – loaded with fiber from the lentils and vegetables, protein from the chicken and lentils, and good fats from the olive oil. When you make a dish like this, you can eat it for leftovers and freeze it, too. This is what I am talking about when I talk to my clients about ‘being prepared’.
My husband, ever the critic, remarked that the finished product wasn’t spicy enough, so I think a teaspoon or so of chili flakes added to the recipe would change that.
Just an FYI, the combination of carrots, celery, and onion is called a ‘mirepoix’, and it’s a big part of French-style cooking.
1.5lb chicken parts, bone in skin on
1.5 cups dry lentils
1 large can tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
4 chopped carrots
3 ribs celery chopped
1/2 large onion ~1 cup, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
Flour for dredging – I used all purpose whole wheat
Salt and pepper
2T olive oil
1T herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven that you can use on the stovetop and in the oven.
While the oil is heating, salt and pepper your chicken pieces and dredge them in the flour.
Brown the chicken well in the hot oil, and set them aside.
Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the oil and cook until softened but not thoroughly cooked. Make sure you stir them often and scrape the browned bits from the chicken off the bottom of the dutch oven to mix them with the vegetables.
Add the garlic and cook another few minutes.
Add the 2 bay leaves and the Herbes de Provence, and cook another few minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and the chicken pieces, and place the dutch oven into the (real) oven, covered. Cook at 350F for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the lentils, stirring so they’re covered by the liquid in the dutch oven.
Cook for 30 more minutes, and enjoy!
PS take the bay leaves out when you’re serving this. Don’t eat them unless you’re a giraffe or something 🙂