Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chicken with Lentils

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The recipe is a take on Nigella Lawson's recipe of poached chicken with lentils and tested by Jennifer Bain of the Toronto Star. I took it a little further and infused it with a hint of Morocco while taking a small turn towards the Indian continent. Lentils was my go-to substitute for mung bean while still living in the US. Although usually cooked until just tender, I would normally cook it until it is very mushy which is also how I like to cook my mung bean in a stew. However, I have also come to appreciate lentils as they are when I prepare Indian food and I do adhere to the proper way of cooking them which is almost al dente

Although it started out as a light fare, I pumped up the flavors by marinating the chicken in harissa. Frying the chicken until browned brought out the flavors of the marinade which was both spicy and sweet . I also used cilantro to finish the dish giving it a pungent aromatic scent which I do like since I'm not too partial on mint leaves that the original recipe called for. Overall, this was a successful experiment and between the five of us who partook of the dish, we lopped it up until we were full to the brim. Undo my belt please, I'm too full! 

Chicken with Lentils

2 lbs chicken cut up
1/4 cup harissa
1 lemon
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium-sized carrots, diced
1/2 lb bacon
1 cup French green lentils
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add the harissa. Zest the 
    lemon and cut in half. Juice the lemon halves and remove the seeds. Add 
    the zest and the juice to the chicken. Mix well and allow to marinate for 
    an hour. 

2.  Brown the bacon in a large pan over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to 
     a plate and set aside. 

3. Add the oil to the bacon fat and increase the heat to medium high. Brown 
    the chicken pieces. Do this in batches. Transfer the chicken pieces to a 
    plate and set aside. 

4. In the same pan, saute the garlic and onions and season with salt and 
    pepper. Cook until just softened. 

5. Add the mustard powder and the lentils and mix well. Return the chicken 
    pieces into the pan and add the broth. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil and 
    cover. Cook for 10 minutes. 

6. Lower the heat to low and bring the pan to a simmer. Check occasionally 
    and stir to make sure the lentils do not stick to the pan. Cook for another
    10 minutes. 

7. Add the diced carrots and check the stew for flavor. Adjust when 
    necessary. Add more water if it gets a bit thick. Cook until the lentils are 
    tender but still hold their shape.

8. To finish the dish, slice the bacon into smaller pieces and add them to the 
    stew. Check for flavor one last time and adjust accordingly. Stir in the 
    chopped parsley and cilantro just before serving.

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