For me, this post is really all about the lentils. The chicken was pretty fast and easy and came out nicely, but I struggled with the lentils, and though I still don’t understand what went wrong, we still loved the flavors in the lentils and will make them again soon. The trouble started when she linked to a recipe for the lentils (below) which probably would have come out fine. However, she said “I make them very similarly to the recipe I’ve posted here, although now I just do it all in one pot so after I saute the veg and add the broth, I braise the lentils in that pot for about 25 minutes until they are tender.” This sounded easier and faster to me, but when I added the 3 Tbs broth, it certainly didn’t seem like enough moisture to ever soften dried lentils. Even on the lowest heat with a cover, the moisture went away quickly, and I kept adding more broth, more water, etc. I Googled “braise” to make sure I had the right idea, but I’m still not understanding how hers worked and mine didn’t. More than an hour later my chicken was long done and the breading was softening in the warm toaster oven, we were starved and crabby, and the lentils were still very al dente in the middle, almost crunchy. We ate them anyway out of desperation, and I have to say, I can’t wait to make them again, the original way she posted it. They were yummy and would be even more so if the veggies hadn’t been cooked so long and the texture of the lentils was right. I didn’t even add the spinach as we couldn’t wait an extra minute. You know a recipe is worth repeating if it’s still delicious after messing it up as badly as I did!
from Elly Says Opa
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
1 lemon, halved
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. romano or parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. chopped rosemary
2 chicken breast halves, pounded to about 1/3 – 1/2″ thickness
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and soft, about 7 minutes. (watch these closely and keep the heat pretty low – they can over brown very quickly and be too crispy). Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and keep the oil in the pan.
Zest half the lemon into a dish or bowl, and to it add the breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
Crush the browned garlic cloves and whisk in a separate shallow bowl/dish along with the egg and juice from half the lemon. (next time I will likely add the garlic to the breadcrumbs, as most of it was left behind in the egg dish and didn’t adhere to the chicken)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, and then dredge into the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat the garlic oil over medium heat and once hot, add the chicken. Cook until done, about 2.5 minutes per side. Serve with slices or wedges of the remaining half lemon.
Braised Lentils with Spinach
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. olive oil
1 sprig thyme or a pinch of dried (I used oregano)
1 small carrot, diced
1 small piece celery, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
4-5 mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh spinach, shredded or chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place lentils and bay leaf in a small pan and pour cold water in the pan so that it reaches about 3″ above the lentils. Cook at a rolling boil until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over moderate heat and add olive oil and thyme. Saute the onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms until tender.
Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils and stock. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced enough to coat lentils–a couple minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: spoon lentils onto a plate, top with chicken and spoon sauce from chicken over entire dish.