As I’m still in the process of clearing out cupboards for spring-cleaning I decided to use 3 particular ingredients: 1/2 a lime, Puy lentils and a small left over branch of fresh rosemary that was bought for a previous post. Apart from buying the chicken everything else was already in my cupboards. Okay, the list of ingredients might seem endless. For me, though, this Chicken with Herbs, Puy lentils and lime is normal mid-week fodder. I tend to be suspicious of a recipe with less than 5 ingredients. Excepting maybe a dip or salmon paté. Besides, I just love fresh and dried herbs. They make such a difference to most dishes. Marjoram, which I’ve ran out of, is delicious in certain salads, like mackerel, beetroot and boiled egg. That post another time.
It might be spring, and I might be hankering after more springlike foods, but I’m still in winter clothing. Unlike some of the UK yesterday, that saw temperatures in the low 20′s (around 70°F), here was a miserable 6°C (42.8°F). Because of that I’m still not into the idea of cold salads. A warm salad, then? Will think on that one. Anyway, as for this post there is one thing I should’ve done for this recipe and that was to purée the caramelised onions into the strained stock. That probably would’ve been enough to thicken the stock sufficiently. Darn! And I had the time to do so. Just wasn’t inclined to style the photo any better, either. Next time!
I’d meant to serve this with a take on a potato, cheese and mustard sausage as a sort of patty covered in sesame seeds (yes, they need using up as well). Forgot to buy the cheese! I think the flavours of the cheese and mustard would go especially well with the herbs. Anyway, I might do them as a separate post. Here, I’ve gone for a fairly plain mash.
Chicken with Herbs
- rapeseed oil
- 450 – 500g (15.87 – 17.63 oz) x chicken pieces (I used leg quarters)
- 2 x small garlic cloves, root end cut off
- 1 x small branch fresh rosemary
- 1/2 x lime, freshly squeezed, though a sieve if necessary
- 60g (2.11 oz) x Puy lentils, washed
- olive oil
- 200g (7.05 oz)x onions, chopped
- 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to personal taste
- 300ml (0.63 pt US Liq) x water
- 1 x vegetable stock cube
- 1/2 x chicken stock cube
- 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
- 10 x juniper berries
- 2 x sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed
- 2 x parsley stalks, washed
- 200g (7.05 oz) x carrots, peeled and cut in half
- 2 x celery stalks, washed and cut in half
- 1 x tsp dried oregano
- 1 x pinch of dried sage, less is more with this one
- 1 x medium garlic clove, root end cut off
- handful of chopped celery leaves per person – optional
- 1 x tablespoon olive oil
- 1 x tablespoon plain flour, sieved if necessary
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- This time around I didn’t bother to skin the chicken pieces. Instead, they were rinsed and added to a large heavy-based saucepan with enough rapeseed oil to coat its base on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). Allowed to settle they were browned on both sides for about 15 – 20 minutes, removing any skin as they cooked. The garlic was added after about 5 minutes, then the rosemary after a further 5. Any signs of scorching then lower heat a little. If there is a lot of oil by this stage I usually mop that out with kitchen paper and discard, adding a glug more of fresh oil. After 20 minutes pour in the strained lime juice and allow this to catch a little. If the garlic and rosemary show any signs of burning then do remove them and set aside.
- After preparing the onions add them to a heavy-based pan with enough olive oil to coat its base. On heat No 2, with a lid, I let them settle for at least 10 minutes before stirring through. Then, remove the lid, add a little more oil if necessary and stir occasionally. Any signs of scorching then reduce heat to No 1, which I normally do after 15 minutes or so. The longer these cook for the sweeter they will be. After 20 minutes add the garlic. After a further 10 move some of the mixture to one side and add the cayenne pepper. Take off heat and set aside.
- In a small saucepan add the Puy lentils and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a boil on heat No 4, then reduce heat to No 2 until cooked. This usually takes about 15 – 20 minutes simmering time (check the instructions on your pack). When cooked sufficiently drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- By this stage, as the chicken is partially cooked, all that’s needed is to prep the celery and carrots, pop them in with the chicken along with the water, stock cubes (if using a strongly flavoured vegetable stock cube I’d suggest using half, allow to dissolve, taste and add more if necessary), bay leaf, juniper berries, parsley and thyme. Bring that to a boil on heat No 4, reduce to No 2 and simmer for a further 20 minutes to make sure the chicken is nicely cooked through.
- Remove the chicken pieces and allow to rest. Strain the stock through a fine wire metal sieve into a suitable container, retaining the stock and bay leaf. Return to the same saucepan, add the garlic and onions (without the bay leaf) and purée this with a hand held stick/stab blender until smooth (alternatively, thicken the sauce with the instruction below). Return the bay leaf, add the lentils, chicken and celery leaves (if using) and heat through until the leaves have wilted.
- If you want to thicken the stock to a gravy like consistency then put a small heavy-based pan on heat No 1. Add the olive oil and flour and stir through. If any bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool. Put back on heat for a couple more minutes to ensure the flour is cooked out. Simply pour into the stock and stir until the gravy thickens slightly.
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