Whether you work all day from home or at a bustling office, slow cooking is a nice option if you want a hot meal the second you are ready to eat, and my Slow-Cooker Chicken and Lentils are super tasty and made with pantry ingredients.
I remember when I had to wear a suit all day – I couldn’t get it off fast enough and head into my kitchen for an enticing slow-cooked meal. Even today as I work from home, I still feel the same way about a slow-cooked dinner – it’s so pleasant to have a warm aroma wafting about the house. Braising is a cooking method which begins by searing meat first, and then allowing it to simmer in liquid without submerging it. It’s definitely the way to go when cooking chicken thighs because they tenderize beautifully, while preserving the skin.
This recipe 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 dried spices like thyme leaves and chicken, and the earthy flavors of lentils add another delicious component to the dish. If dark meat is not your thing, you can substitute chicken breasts, just cut the cooking time down by an hour, so you don’t overcook the white meat.
4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, or dried thyme
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dried brown or green lentils, rinsed
1 small white onion, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, creme Fraiche or sour cream, optional
( Serves 4)
1. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, herbs de provence and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle dry rub on both sides of chicken.
2. Place insert of slow cooker or a large pot on stove over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pot and heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, skin side down to pot and brown for 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook on other side for 3 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from pot and set it on a plate. Add onions and carrot to pot with chicken juices and saute for 3 minutes. Skin your garlic, but keep it whole and add it to onion mixture. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of pepper flakes to onion mixture and stir to combine.
4. Add lentils, thyme and broth to onion mixture and stir to combine. Put insert back into your slow-cooker or add back into slow-cooker from pot. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Ladle brothy lentils into bowl and place chicken on top. Dollop with yogurt – Enjoy!