Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Poached chicken with lardons and lentils

Some foods are considered to be lucky to eat at the coming of the New Year.  I heard somewhere that eating lentils at this time is a good thing.  In some cultures, lentils signify good fortune, wealth and prosperity.  And so I prayed and ate a bowlful of this. Amen...

Words from Nigella (and from me): If you want to lose the lardons, do, but for me everything's better with bacon (indeed!).  Still, I can see that those after goodness and purity might want to lose that luscious salty fat. Not me, though... (and not me).

Poached Chicken with Lardons and Lentils
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 1

2 x 15 tablespoons garlic oil
100 gr smoked lardons or pancetta (or diced smoked streaky bacon)
1 carrot, peeled and halved lengthwise, roughly chopped
1 leek, cleaned, trimmed and halved lengthwise, roughly chopped
3 x 15 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
grated zest 1 lemon
125 g puy lentils
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 chicken supreme (skinned breast, bone in), preferable organic
500 ml water
salt and pepper, to taste

Fry the lardons, carrot, leek, parsley, mint and lemon zest in the oil for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, in a smallish, heavy-based pan (big enough to lay 1 chicken breast in) that has a lid.

Stir in the lentils and cook for another minute, before adding the yellow gloop of mustard and stir that in, too.

Sit the chicken on top of everything in the pan, and add the water. Bring to the boil, put on a lid and simmer very, very gently for 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat now, but everything is at its most tender best made in advance and reheated.  I let it cool in the pan with the lid off, but for no longer than 1 hour, the put the lid back on and stash the pan in the fridge.  Later, warm it in the pan with the lid on, until piping hot again.  Why add to the washing up?

If you wish, sprinkle more chopped parsley and serve with more English mustard.


  1. I made some lentil soup for the dinner too, but I must say that yours looks 10 times better than mine. :-))Gotta add some pancetta next time.

  2. This actually looks wonderful Michael :) I've seriously gotta dress up my lentils like this if I want to make a meal out of them, they always seem to have that, well.... lentilly taste :) Seeing as Nigella's into them..., this augers well my friend, bet it was rich 'n tasty :)

  3. Looks delightful with some excellent flavors combinations, nice choice :)
    Hope you had an amazing Holiday!

  4. That looks wonderful, Michael! I'm always up for eating anything that might give me good fortune!!

  5. I so agree with Nigella (and you) about keeping the fat, and that's why we curvy girls have got it going on in the kitchen! Haha.. Yours is the third recipe with lentils that I've come across today, could it be the next big trend this season? This poached chicken dish certainly looks the bomb, Michael!

  6. I'm crazy about lentils but never thought to pair them with chicken. Great recipe!

  7. This reminds me in some ways of a lentil cassoulet. I think I may just have to try it out. Could I use a ham hock?

  8. Hi Kristen. I think ham hock would be delicious too :) Let me know if it works.

  9. We just had lentils the other night! They're my new favorite food- What a great way to include them with Chicken!!