Chicken with lentils

I am a total lentil convert after making this dish. I always thought they were a bit bland, but the addition of bacon, lots of garlic and roasted chicken juices make this a delicious comforting dish for winter or cooler evenings. You can make the lentils ahead too, great for a dinner party when you don’t want to be spending all your time in the kitchen – just roast the chicken, pour the juices into the lentils and reheat and you are good to go.

This serves 8 with a side vegetable, chargrilled purple or tenderstem broccoli would be good, or sautéed spinach with some more garlic, to ward away the vampires.

This dish is adapted from Leiths’ braised lentils from ‘How to Cook’

Serves 4 hungry people or 8 less hungry people

45 minutes total cooking time


  • 2 medium chickens, jointed into 4 pieces each – or use 8 pieces of chicken legs/ breasts/ a combination of whichever you like best. They need to have the skin on for the best flavour

  • 1 large brown onion

  • 2 medium carrots

  • 2 celery sticks

  • 200g bacon lardons or chopped bacon

  • A couple of knobs of salted butter

  • A slug of olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 750g cooked puy lentils (you can buy these from Ocado)

  • 250ml fresh chicken stock

  • 175ml white wine

  • A couple of sprigs of thyme

  • Salt and fresh black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / gas mark 6

  2. Joint the chicken into 8 pieces if you’re using whole chickens

  3. Put the chicken pieces into a roasting dish – you want it to be snug but not overlapping too much so they cook evenly. Dot with butter, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper and add a couple of sprigs of thyme and two bashed garlic cloves

  4. Pop the chicken in the oven, and check after 30 minutes, it may need 10 minutes longer. You want the fibres just set and the juices running clear, but still juicy and not dry. The breast meat will cook quicker.

  5. While the chicken is cooking, finely dice the onions

  6. Gently heat a knob of butter and a good slug of olive oil in a large lidded pan, when foaming add the onions, cover with a damp piece of greaseproof paper pop on the lid to ensure they cook gently without taking on much colour.

  7. Peel and finely chop the carrot into small cubes and finely chop the celery into similar sized pieces

  8. Add the carrot, lardons, celery and two crushed garlic cloves to the onions and continue to cook over a low heat until the bacon is browning and the vegetables are softening

  9. Stir the lentils in and mix thoroughly, then add the wine, stock and a couple of sprigs of thyme and season well. Bring to the boil then simmer gently until the lentilsare cooked but still have some bite – this should take about 10-15 minutes

  10. When the chicken is cooked, rest it covered in greaseproof paper for 10 minutes. Pour the roasting juices and garlic pieces from the pan into the lentils and stir through, removing the thyme sprigs

  11. Serve a ladleful of lentils and a piece of chicken on warmed plates and accompany with veggies of your choice

Gemma Scott