This is my second slow cooker recipe of the week and it is still crazy hot here in Southern California and on the east coast they are floating away in rain. The slow cooker is the perfect solution for both situations — when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen and if you need a little something to warm your bones for dinner.
This recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken & Lentils is simple to prepare with just a few ingredients, especially if you already have dry herbs on hand. It reminds me of French country cooking with the combination of thyme and chicken and I love the earthy flavors of the lentils with the succulent dark meat chicken. If dark meat is not your thing, you can substitute chicken breasts, just cut the time down by an hour, so you don’t overcook the meat.
4-6 chicken thighs bone-in with skin, organic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup green lentils
1 small white onion
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, organic preferably
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, creme fraiche or sour cream, optional
grapeseed oil or any cooking oil
( Serves 2-4)
1. In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, herbs de provence and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of the chicken. Pat the rub down on the chicken, so it adheres better.
3. Place the insert of your slow cooker or a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to the insert and let it warm for 2 minutes.
3. Then, add the chicken, skin side down to the pot. Let the chicken brown for 4 minutes, you are looking for a deep dark crust. Then, flip the chicken over and let it cook on the other side for 3 minutes.
4. While the chicken is browning, dice up your onion and carrot and rinse your fresh thyme.
5. After your chicken is brown, remove it from the pot and set it on a plate.
6. Then, add your onions and carrot to the pot with all the juices from the chicken and saute for 3 minutes. Skin your garlic, but keep it whole and add it to the onion mixture.
7. Next, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of pepper flakes to the onion mixture and stir to combine. Continue to cook the mixture for 2 minutes.
8. Then, rinse your lentils with cold water in a fine mesh strainer. Add the lentils to the onion mixture and stir to combine.
9. Next, add the thyme and chicken broth and gently stir to combine the mixture. You want the chicken to sit skin-side up in the brothy lentil mixture (this is called braising.) The broth should only be 1/2 of the way up on the sides of the chicken thighs.
10. Put the insert back into your slow cooker or place the lentils and then the chicken into your slow cooker from your pot. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.
11. When done, ladle the lentils into a bowl and place a chicken breast on top. Add a nice dollop of Greek yogurt on top of the chicken and Enjoy!