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Chicken with lentils and rosemary

An easy one-pot supper for a cold night, this is started off on the hob, then transferred to the oven to bake. A sturdy casserole, or any good pan that’s both flameproof and ovenproof, is the ideal vessel.

Method

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 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 skin side up in the casserole. You want most of the chicken skin to remain exposed above the liquid in the dish so it can brown in the oven.

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, just as it is or with steamed broccoli or spring greens on the side.

Serving suggestions

Rabbit casserole

Wild rabbit is a delicious lean meat, and a young specimen, skinned and jointed (just ask your butcher) works very well in this recipe in place of the chicken. A couple of rashers of streaky bacon, cut into thick matchsticks, can be sweated with the onions and will help to keep the rabbit tender.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 200g red lentils, well rinsed
  • 500ml chicken or veg stock
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in, freerange chicken thighs, or 1 medium chicken (about 1.75kg), jointed into 6–8 pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to finish

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Light and Easy