Chicken in parchment with Moroccan aromatics and lentils

Chicken in parchment with Moroccan aromatics and lentils

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

This is an ideal dinner party dish. Everything can be prepared ahead of time, and needs simply to be reheated for serving. Served in individual parchment parcels, it also brings a touch of drama to the dinner table.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g french puy lentils
1/2 medium onion
1 cinnamon stick
4 stalks thyme
1 1/2kg chicken pieces on the bone
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
60ml olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
200g carrots, scraped and cut into 2 cm dice
2 tablespoons * chermoula [rid:10248]
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped, skin only
1 litre chicken stock
300g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method

  1. Place the lentils in three times their volume of cold water with the onion half, cinnamon stick and thyme. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until they are just tender. Strain.
  2. Mix the flour and paprika. Dust the chicken pieces in the spiced flour. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan, add the chicken pieces and sauté until they are golden all over. Add the onion, potatoes and carrots and mix well. Add the chermoula, coating all the ingredients, then add the crushed tomatoes, the chopped preserved lemon and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the lentils and pumpkin, and cook without the lid for a further 5 minutes, by which time the vegetables should all be just tender and the chicken just cooked. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight.
  3. To serve, preheat the oven to 180°C. Using non-stick baking parchment, cut four 40 cm lengths to make four squares. Fold each square into sixteenths, trim around the ends then open up to form the rough circle. Place the circle into a fairly deep bowl and heap in a quarter of the mixture, ensuring even amounts of chicken, vegetables and sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and coriander. Gather the edges of the paper together above the mixture and tie with kitchen string so you have a little bag. Place the parcels in a baking tray and cover with tin foil (this stops the tops from getting crispy and the string from burning).
  4. Cook for half an hour and serve individual parcels for each person to break into it to release the delicious aromatic braise within.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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