My love of lentils was rediscovered over Christmas break when my in-laws made Chorizo Lentil Stew for lunch one day. Ever since then, I have been keeping an eye out for similar recipes to try. I ended up selecting Eating Well’s Lentil and Chicken Stew for my initial foray into cooking with dried lentils. Originally I had planned to make this Saturday night, but I was not feeling up to it at the time thanks to a head cold. The stew became our lunch today, instead.
The recipe only makes 2 servings, so I doubled it so that we would have another dinner made for one night this week. I also added one stalk of celery and 1/2 of a diced onion for flavor, as suggested by several of the online reviews. The stew was straightforward to make, and it filled the house with a delicious, warm aroma while cooking. Taste-wise, I thought it was a solid 3-star recipe, but John gave it 2-and-a-half. He thought the taste did not quite live up to the yummy smell.
Lentil and Chicken Stew
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp whole coriander seed, crushed (I used ground coriander because I already had some on hand)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth (I ended up using a 32-oz container for the doubled batch)
1/2 cup French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed (I used brown)
1 6-oz bag baby spinach (I used one bunch of baby spinach, as the store was out of bagged)
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB chopped fresh dill
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring once or twice until no longer pink in the middle, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. (I did this in a separate skillet while the lentils were cooking, not before.)
2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add carrot, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. This smelled and looked so good!
3. Stir in broth and lentils, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes (brown lentils take a little longer). (I cooked the lentils for 45 minutes.)
4. Add the cooked chicken, spinach and lemon juice and return to a simmer. Cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in dill.
Yield: 2 servings, about 2 cups each. Per serving, 9 PointsPlus.