Saturday, January 16, 2016

While on my weekly pilgrimage to World Market I spotted these lovely French lentils that quickly found their way into my basket.  January is such a great time for a warm bowl of rich and earthy lentils.  And thus, a love affair was born.

Lentils are a different kind of comfort food.  They are wholesome and nutritious, gluten free, and perfect for a protein packed vegetarian meal.  At the same time they can have a deep flavor that warms your belly in a curled up by the fire kind of way.

I love pairing my lentils with chicken thighs and rosemary or thyme. My favorite lentils are these - Pereg French Lentils from World Market. Add a little bacon for saltiness and lemon zest for brightness and I'm in heaven.  I do use boneless, skinless chicken here and I mix thighs and breasts - because the Sexy Mexican doesn't eat dark meat.

I always make a pot big enough to feed us for a few meals - because it is always better the next day and the next.  Great for Sunday night dinner - Monday lunch - Monday dinner - I just can't get enough.  Enjoy.



  • 1 cup cubed pancetta or thick cut bacon       
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.3-1.5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 2 carrots - large dice
  • 2 celery - large dice
  • 1/2 yellow onion - chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 teaspoons of whole grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups of lentils
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth - low sodium


Heat olive oil in a pot over medium high heat.  Add chopped pancetta and cook until some of the fat is rendered.  As it begins to brown - push it to the side. 

Season chicken with salt and pepper and thyme. Place chicken in the pot with the pancetta and brown evenly on both sides.

Once the chicken is brown, remove it to a plate and cover with foil so that it will stay warm.

With the pancetta still in the pan - add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook until softened but not brown.  

Add the chopped parsley, lemon zest, mustard and lentils.  Cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add white wine and deglaze the pot, scraping all of the good brown bits off of the bottom.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Place chicken on top - cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until desired textured is reached.

The trick here is the phrase until desired texture is reached. Lentils are like beans and must be cooked for different lengths of time depending on your taste, their age and the altitude.  Sometimes mine are ready in 20 minutes - other times it has been 45 minutes to an hour.  If you go longer than 20 minutes - you will need to add additional chicken broth.  I also recommend removing your chicken again after the 20 minutes and add it back at the end to warm it up.  If you leave the chicken in for 40 minutes - it will become dry and awful.  Just cook the lentils until you like their texture - it is a personal taste thing.

I hope that you will try this and fall in love with it like I did.  I'm feeling the need to make another pot now - cold blistery day + a big pot of lentils = winter time happiness.

eat. love. live well.

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