Friday, 23 December 2011

Chicken with Puy Lentil Dahl

Some people might regard this dish as a chicken curry, however I think that it's a little more sophisticated than that. I have to confess that I'm a thigh man as opposed to breast (with regards to cuts of chicken) and the succulent meat sits perfectly here with the rich dahl. It's a really good dinner party dish as it can be partly cooked in advance and finished off after the guests arrive. The recipe is for four people and costs around £2.25 per head.

Ingredients : 8 large chicken thighs, 4 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp coriander seeds, finely chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, tbs grated fresh ginger, finely chopped red chili, tbs turmeric, 300g puy lentils, 100g passata, 800ml chicken stock, 150g natural yoghurt, bunch of coriander, seasoning

1. Heat oven to 200 / gas mark 6.
2. Roast off the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan for about a minute. Then grind down in a pestle and mortar.
3. Season the  thighs well with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in pan and cook chicken skin side down for 5 minutes on a medium heat or until brown. Transfer to a roasting tray and set aside.
3. Drain off some of the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic. Once soft, add the garlic, ginger and chili.
4. Add the turmeric and the grounded seeds and coat the onion mix. Cook out the turmeric, then add the washed lentils, passata and stock. Bring to boil (at this point, put the chicken into the oven) and then simmer for about 15-20 mins until lentils are al dente. 5. Once the dahl is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the yoghurt and half the coriander.
6. I like to serve this on one big plate and let people help themselves. Place the dahl on centre of plate and then top with the chicken and a sprinkling of coriander and some finely chopped chili.

On reflection, this is good gastropub food, not the sort of dish that you have after 14 pints of lager on a friday night!

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