This delicious meal feels like a big warming hug in a bowl, the perfect comfort food. You think you’re indulging in a naughty, comfort food treat but you’re actually packing away a rich and nutritional meal loaded with vitamins and minerals and protein. The only challenge is to stop yourself refilling your bowl for a second helping – but remember this freezes well.
2 cloves garlic
4 chicken thighs – bone in and with the skin will give a little more flavour, removing the skin will reduce calories
1tbsp cornflour – or any flour for thickening
250 g Puy lentils – if you don’t have these, green or brown lentil would be a great substitute
1 litre of chicken stock (homemade is the best but not essential)
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of tomato purée
100g of roughly chopped sun blushed tomatoes – these will add a punch to the flavour, but if not available use a carton of passata or a tin of chopped tomatoes with a little extra tomato puree
2 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary – or dried if you don’t have fresh to hand
1 tsp ground cumin – slightly sweet, with a warm flavour and pungent aroma, cumin is a rich source of iron and promotes digestion
1 tsp ground coriander or a handful of fresh coriander leaves if you have them
- Coat the chicken in chicken in the cornflour, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pan and brown the chicken on both sides until slightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and add the finely chopped onion, carrots, and herbs and spices.
- Cook for a few minutes then add the crushed garlic. Cook for about 8 – 10 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the chicken stock and lentils and nestle the chicken tights into the mixture. If using passata or tinned tomatoes, also add them at this stage.
- Cover and cook at 180°C for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, add the sun blushed tomatoes and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with fine green beans or some lightly wilted spinach to add an extra vitamin boost. This is another dish that can be tweaked according to what you have in the store cupboard… try dried mixed herbs, or swap the cumin with paprika – add a glug of red wine if you have it for a little something extra. If you are watching calories (or like me prefer it) swap the chicken thighs with chicken breast but make sure you cover with the sauce to prevent it drying out.