I adapted this dish from a recipe I found in one of my Food & Wine magazines. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m finding more and more “quick & easy” recipes available in cooking magazines and cookbooks. I think more and more people are cooking but have less time so the periodicals and TV shows are featuring more recipes under an hour.
The recipe is from José Andrés, a celebrity chef from Spain often credited for bringing small plate dining to America. The article featuring this recipe is called Star Chefs’ Dream Recipes and features recipes from members of the Chefs Make Change coalition whose goal is to “support farmers, fight hunger, help at-risk kids and more.”
You can learn more about their cause at Chefs Make Change and make a donation if you feel so inclined.
Roast Chicken Thighs with Lentil Stew
Although the recipe is for roasted chicken thighs, I’m focusing on the lentil stew served with it because I think home cooks need more side dishes to add to their cooking repertoire. Besides, roasting chicken thighs is easy:
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Coat the thighs with a little bit of oil.
- Season with some salt, pepper and any other spices you may enjoy.
- Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160° knowing that while resting it will reach its target temperature of 165°.
5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices of bacon, diced finely
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 quart of chicken stock
8 cloves garlic plus
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise
1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise
1 large bell pepper, quartered
1 cup lentils ( I used red but the recipe calls for green)
1 thyme sprig
1-teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Paprika) - if you can't find Pimentón, substitute sweet paprika
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
How To Prepare At Home
Heat up a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add the bacon and cook until it is brown but not crisp. Next, add the diced onion and cook for about 3 minutes until you can smell them release their aromatics.
Add the stock, garlic cloves, leek, carrot, bell pepper, lentils and thyme sprig. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
When done cooking, remove the thyme spring from the lentils. You may find like I did that it breaks up into pieces and is hard to remove every bit of it. Don't worry; it adds a little additional flavor to the stew.
Pick out the garlic, leek, carrot and bell pepper quarters and transfer to a blender. Add about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and puree the vegetables.
The recipe says to drain the lentils and return them to the pot. My experience was there was nothing to drain. I'm not sure if this was because I used red lentils rather than green lentils but I don't think so. So if you experience the same, don't worry about it.
Add the pureed vegetables to the lentils and give them a stir.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and then the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook the garlic for about a minute. Add the smoked Paprika, stir and transfer it to the lentils. Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
Add the sherry vinegar, taste and if needed, season with salt.
Serve it in a bowl and top with the chicken thighs but do try this with other meals as a side dish. Lot's of flavor and easy to prepare. And don't hesitate to create your own version using other ingredients you have on hand.
*Don't add salt to the liquid you are cooking them in because it toughens the lentils. Season after they are cooked.
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