One of my 28 things I want to do before I turn 28 is to try more new recipes. I get into a cooking rut really easily and end up cooking the same core meals all the time and I really want to make use of all the cookbooks I have! I figured I need to actually do something about this goal rather than just say that I’ll cook some new recipes, so once a week I’ll be cooking something new and sharing it here with you – whether I succeed or fail!
For my first recipe, I picked this Spiced Chicken with Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals (I didn’t want to aim too high with a long and complicated recipe!) and it was largely determined by what I actually had in the house at the time. These recipes are never really achievable in 15 minutes, but I’d say 20 minutes is a pretty close time estimate.
Where I deviated: this recipe says to serve with a loaf of crusty bread, which I don’t generally keep in the house so it was out! I also subbed a tin of tomatoes in for the fresh tomato as I didn’t have one, and I used short cut bacon instead of pancetta. I didn’t have red wine vinegar either so I used rice wine vinegar and a splash of the red wine I was enjoying while cooking!
Spiced Chicken with Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils
(adapted from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals)
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- olive oil
- 2 x 400g tins of lentils (Jamie says Puy, I used brown because it’s what I had!)
- 1 tomato
- 200g baby spinach
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 4 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
- 4 x skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 handful fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme)
- 4 rashers of pancetta
- 1 bunch trimmed asparagus
Peel and half the onion and roughly chop the carrot, blitz in a food processor with the rosemary until finely chopped.
Put some olive oil into a large, lidded frypan on medium heat (I prefer to use a spray) and add the onion/carrot mixture. Stir occasionally.
On a sheet of baking paper, rub the cayenne pepper along with some salt and pepper into the chicken breasts. Fold the baking paper over and flatten the chicken breasts until they’re about 1.5cm thick (you’ll need to bash them with a rolling pin).
Add some olive oil (or cooking spray) to a frypan over medium heat and put the chicken, garlic and fresh herbs into the pan. Cook the chicken on each side for about 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through.
Add the lentils (including the liquid from the can) and the tomatoes to the vegetable pan and put the lid on to simmer.
Roughly chop the spinach in the food processor and add to the vegetable mixture along with the red wine vinegar (or rice wine vinegar and red wine, which is what I did). When the spinach is wilted and the mixture is at the boil, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the bacon and asparagus to the chicken pan and cook until crispy.
Pour the spinach lentil mixture onto a serving platter (not a flat one). Dollop most of the yoghurt on top and stir through.
Slice the chicken on an angle and place it on top of the spinach lentil mixture. Add the bacon and asparagus. Dollop the remaining yoghurt on top.
My husband and I both really loved this meal. It was fairly quick and easy, and the flavours were really nice! It seems like it would be a good meal to make ahead and freeze, and it’s definitely good as leftovers the next day! Next time I would maybe use a touch more cayenne pepper on the chicken (Stu likes spicy food!) and I’d like to experiment with adding a few more herbs to the lentil mixture along with the rosemary.
I’ll definitely be making this one again! Let me know if you give this a try. I’ll have another ‘I tried this recipe’ next week – any suggestions?