Chicken with lentils
An easy one-pot supper for a cold night, this is started off on the hob, then transferred to the oven to bake.
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)
200g red lentils, well rinsed
500ml chicken or veg stock (from a cube is fine)
8 bone-in chicken thighs (skin on or off)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to finish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Choose a flameproof casserole dish or a wide,ovenproof pan that will hold all the chicken pieces snugly but comfortably.
Put the casserole on a medium-low heat. Add the oil, then the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 6–8 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, rosemary if using, and some salt and pepper. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes, then stir in the lentils and stock.
Season the chicken thighs and place in the casserole. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. Check that the chicken is cooked right through and the lentils are soft. If not, return to the oven for 10–15 minutes and test again. Skim off any excess fat from the surface.
Taste the lentilly liquor and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve, scattered with chopped parsley if you like, just as it is or with steamed broccoli or greens on the side.
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Recipe adapted for Newcastle Can from River Cottage Light & Easy by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury)
Photography © Simon Wheeler