We're so used to seeing lentils dried or in tins that it only occurred to us the other day to wonder what a lentil plant looks like. Not dissimilar to a pea plant it turns out, but bushier. Here we've put these lovely legumes in a spicy, creamy sauce which pairs perfectly with pan-fried chicken. Beautiful!
Chicken Stock Pot
Peel the carrot, remove the top and bottom and then chop into roughly ½cm cubes. Make them as small as you can! Chop the celery into tiny cubes too. Remove the root and dark green tops from the leek and slice into ½cm rounds. Halve the red chilli lengthways, remove the seeds and finely chop as much as you dare!
Pinch the top of each thyme stalk in one hand and run thumb and index finger of the other downwards to strip off the leaves. Pick the sage leaves from their stalks and roughly chop. (Discard the stalks from both herbs.)
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, leek, chilli, thyme and sage. Season with a pinch of salt and cook gently until soft, about 8 mins. TIP : Turn the heat down if the ingredients start to brown.
Place each chicken breast between two sheets of clingfilm. Whack with the bottom of a saucepan until just under 1cm thick all over. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook for around 5-6 mins on each side. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper whilst cooking. TIP : The chicken is cooked when it is no longer pink in the middle.
Thoroughly rinse and drain the lentils in a sieve. Add them to the pan of veggies with a splash of water, the chicken stock pot and the crème fraîche. Add a few grinds of black pepper (taste and add more if needed). Stir well and heat through until the lentils are piping hot.
Spoon the spicy lentils onto plates and top with your pan-fried chicken. Enjoy!