Browsing through some new cooking magazines the other day, this puy lentil dish reminded me of some of the everyday home cooking we enjoy when we visit Jerome’s parents in France. So of course I had to try it. It’s only in the last few years I have started using lentils and beans in a lot of my cooking. I really like using them now as they add a different texture to food, and are also very filling.

Although the recipe takes a while to cook, it doesn’t require a lot of effort and the end result is very satisfying, rich and filling while still having a freshness from the addition of lemon and parsley.

I found the sauce tasted great even before the addition of mustard and crème fraiche at the end, so if you can’t eat dairy or want a slightly lighter meal, you could omit the crème fraiche and still have a great dish. I admit, it isn’t the prettiest looking dish , but the flavour more than made up for the appearance.

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Chicken with mustard lentils

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 red onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 250g Puy lentils (not cooked)
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Small bunch of parsley – chopped
  • Green vegetables to serve
  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Method

  1. Place the chicken stock in a small saucepan to heat over a medium low heat. You want to heat it not boil it.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish or frying pan (that has a lid). Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then brown in the hot oil for until golden on all sides (approximately 3 minutes per side). Once golden, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it starts to soften. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the lentils, warm stock and stir well. Return the chicken to the pan, on top of the lentils, cover with a lid and leave to simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat. Allow the mix to bubble for about 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and tender, most of the stock is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through. Cook for another 5-10 minutes if needed.
  5. Add the crème fraiche, lemon zest and juice, mustard and parsley and mix through. I found it easier to remove the chicken pieces before adding these in, mixing, and then returning the chicken to the pan.
  6. Serve with green vegetables.

Source – BBC Good Food – January 2013