Monday, March 26, 2012

Chicken and Lentils--or, how I discovered coriander

Remember when I gave you updates on my not new years resolutions and said that I had made a new recipe, but hadn't posted about it?  Well, here it is!

It's not beautiful, but it's delicious
This post is an ode to Mark Bittman.

I could write many odes to Mark Bittman, but today's ode to Mark Bittman (we call him Marky-Mark) is to thank him for introducing me to the delightful sensory experience that is coriander.

One evening I was flipping through Marky-Mark's How to Cook Everything looking for ways to feed my obsession with my (sort of) new Dutch oven.  I ran across a simple-sounding recipe called Chicken with Lentils.  I had all the ingredients on hand--except for coriander.

I had never cooked with coriander before--I've always just substituted curry powder, figuring it was mostly the same.  But I had just listened to an episode of The Splendid Table in which Lynn discussed a dish made with coriander, and it had caught my interest.  So I made a quick run to the store and got some.

Well, let me tell you, folks, coriander might be my new favorite spice.  Oh my, it is amazing.  It's rich and a little sweet and fills the house with a cozy, slightly cinnamon-y smell (yes, I think a smell can be cozy).  And it's not the same as curry powder.

And aside from the coriander, this dish was amazing!  It's super hearty since it has chicken and lentils, and the parsley adds a really fresh flavor.

Chicken and Lentils
Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs chopped or graded fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup chopped tomato (canned is fine)
1 tsp ground coriander
3-4 lbs chicken (I used breasts because I had them in my freezer)
1 large bunch fresh parsley sprigs, tied together
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried lentils
salt and pepper

In a Dutch oven (or any large skillet with a lid), saute the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, coriander, and some salt in the oil for just a few minutes.

Add 4 cups of water, the parsley bundle, cinnamon sticks, and lentils.  Cover the Dutch oven and let simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are almost done.

Take out the parsley and add the chicken.  Cook covered until the chicken is cooked through (155-165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh), about 15-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

1 comment:

Suzanne Nealon said...

This sounds so good. We'll try it