Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cooking with cast iron - Lime Chicken with Lentils

If you have a few moments this week and need to make something nourishing before the big Easter dinner celebration coming up - try this one for its unusual combination of great nutrition - protein, complex carbs, fruit, and amazing flavor. What more could we ask for?

Lime chicken and lentils is one of our favorite Dutch Oven recipes - another dish in Denis’ category of Once-a-weeker. What I like are the leftovers. Mmmm. I love lentils anyway, but made this way I could eat them every day for a week. The dried fruit – apricots and cranberries – give it a natural sweetness and crystallized ginger adds a mystery flavor that deepens the savory-ness of this dish. It’s a great company main dish with a fruity green salad and a crunchy bread.

I didn’t even know what crystallized ginger was until we moved to Rochester and I met Edith Schaeffer. She was famous for serving little sandwiches at high tea and one of them had a filling made with cream cheese and minced crystallized ginger. At first I was all, what? But now I like this intriguing flavor. So don’t leave out the crystallized ginger. It’s not costly when purchased in the bulk food section of a natural food store. Store it in a little glass jar and it will keep forever if you don’t start eating whole slices for the sweet/hot flash it gives.

 Sauteing chicken thighs in Dutch Oven.

Simmering lentils, apricots, cranberries and other ingredients in broth for 30 minutes.

Lime Chicken and Lentils
(Serves 4)

4 Chicken Thighs (or if using skinless breast be sure to brush with olive oil before baking so they don't dry out too much.)
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. allspice
1/8 t. pepper
1T Olive oil plus 1T butter (Use more if needed to brown)
1 cup lentils (use brown or any combination including French)
3 green onions chopped
4 large dried apricots (I use more)
½ cup Dried cranberries
2 t. crystallized ginger, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cups chicken broth (I add more toward end of baking if it looks dry.)
4 t. lime zest
1 T lime juice

Season chicken with spices. Brown in Dutch oven. Transfer to plate.
Add remaining ingred. (except the lime)
Cook and simmer for 30 minutes. (add more broth here, too if it looks dried out)
Press chicken into top. Bake one hour at 375 uncovered.
Before serving sprinkle with lime juice and zest. Garnish with cilantro. This recipe is easily increased to make more servings.


Andrea H said...

I hate to leave it out, but is there a substitute for the crystalized ginger? Could chopped fresh ginger work?
-Your friendly neighborhood broke college student

Margie Haack said...

Andrea, I would certainly try that. And maybe, since it is crystallized, or candied, really, add a T. of sugar. Let me know how it turns out.

domandkat said...

Tried this recipe just this past week and LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing it. I want to repeat it as soon as possible - just not too soon so as the kids won't whine! YUM-