Chicken with Lentils

This is my simple and quick way of cooking a wonderful French peasant style dish of chicken, pork, sausage and lentils.

Place some chicken thighs and drumsticks in a roasting pan, add some chunks of pork belly. You could use a jointed chicken if you wanted. Drizzle with olive oil and place in a hot oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes.

Cook some large pork sausages in the oven, as these take less time, put them in a little later.

In a large pan, soften some pancetta, diced onions and peppers. Once soft, add a knob of butter and some flour, stir well. Now add herbs, wine and stock. Cook for about ten minutes.

In a hot frying pan, cook some chopped mushrooms.

Prepare the dish.

Take the cooked liquid, add the roast chicken and pork. Slice the sauages and add them and the mushrooms to the pan. I used tinned Puy Lentils, but you could use cooked lentils or a tin of another kind. Mix well and heat through.

Serve with crusty bread.

Beef Casserole

This was quite a tasty dish, but wasn’t my usual recipe.

Take some braising steak or stewing steak, and in a hot pan, add a little oil (no need for olive oil as the flavour will be cooked out). The aggresively brown the beef. Only brown a little at a time, browning in batches and ensure that the pan is hot so that the beef does brown and doesn’t stew – as you don’t want it to stew at this time.

Once you have browned all the beef, remove the final batch of beef and add some chopped vegetables to the pan. I used carrot, parsnips, leeks and onions. You could also add celery (yuck) or swede or other root vegetables.

Once the vegetables have browned add some plain flour (just a spoonful) and stir.

Once it starts to stick add a splash of red wine and some beef stock, this should deglaze the pan.

Place everything into a casserole dish, lid on and cook in the oven (not too hot) for a hour or so, adding more stock if the dish starts to dry out.

In a frying pan cook some chopped bacon (I used pancetta) and cook off, then remove the bacon and add some button mushrooms and some freshly chopped parsley. Cook for a minute or two, in the main to soak up the bacon flavour.

Add the bacon and mushrooms about thirty minutes before you serve. I also addeda splash of balsamic vinegar as well.

Serve with crusty bread, mash or roasted potatoes with some fresh steamed green vegetables.