Chicken with puy lentils cooked in cider

A one-dish meal that’s packed with protein for energy and lots of flavour

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon, derinded if necessary, and cut into strips
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz Puy lentils
  • 1 ltr/13/4pt cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprig of fresh thyme
  • 4 x 175g/6oz chicken breasts, skin on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Whole sprigs and 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry for 1 minute, then stir in the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Rinse the lentils well then add to the pan and stir well, coating them with oil. Pour in the cider, add the bay leaf and thyme then bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a dash of water if the lentils look like sticking, until the lentils have softened but still hold their shape.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.

Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in an ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat and fry the seasoned chicken on both sides until golden. Leave in the pan, skin-side up, and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. When the chicken breasts are cooked, drain the lentils of any remaining liquid (they will have absorbed most of it).

Ladle a generous spoonful of the lentils into 4 warm bowls, top with a chicken breast, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and top with a whole sprig of parsley.