Sunday, 8 March 2009

Recipe: Rosemary, garlic and lemon chicken with lentils

I came up with this dish as a more healthier alternative to the traditional Sunday roast. It's just as delicious, but much quicker and easier to prepare and creates far less washing up. It also produces its own gravy. I happened to use organic green lentils from the Camargue but any old green lentils will do. Don't use brown or red lentils as they'll break down and you want them to hold their shape and texture. Serve with roasted parsnips.

serves 4

for the chicken

4 chicken legs
1 head of garlic seperated into cloves and lightly crushed
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 chicken stock cube
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the lentils

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
160g Camargue lentils
500ml water
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
salt
25g unsalted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Scatter the rosemary and garlic in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken and place the legs on top. Mix the stock cube, olive oil and juice of the lemon into a paste and spoon over the chicken. Add the two halves of the juiced lemon to the pan and roast for around 45 minutes or until tender, basting the meat every 10 minutes.

Sweat the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until softened, add the lentils and cover with the water. Bring to the boil, skim then add the bay leaf and peppercorns and simmer uncovered until the lentils are cooked and the liquid has mostly been absorbed or evaporated. Season with salt.

Once the chicken is cooked, set it aside and deglaze the pan with a little water or stock, making sure you scrape up all the residue and squeeze out the roasted garlic flesh into the sauce. Pass through a sieve into a clean pan and taste. Reduce to intensify the flavour if necessary. Whisk in the butter to enrich the sauce and add body.

Serve the chicken on a bed of lentils and spoon over the sauce.

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