Roast Chicken with Braised Lentils

Richard Phillips says it's worth buying an organic chicken to make this special roast, accompanied by a hearty stew of healthy pulses
By Richard Phillips
Roast Chicken with Braised Lentils
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus overnight soaking
  • Effort: medium


  • 1x1.35-1.8 kg chicken
  • 250 g Puy lentils, soaked overnight in water
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 100 g trimmings smoked bacon
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large knob butter
  • 50 g carrots, diced
  • 50 g pancetta lardons
  • pinchchopped parsley
  • 2-3 drops truffle oil
  • salt and black pepper

For the cauliflower puree

  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 600 ml milk
  • pinches salt
  • 50 ml double cream
  • knob butter
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. In a large pan heat the oil over a medium heat and brown the chicken, turning regularly so it gets an even colour.

3. Put the chicken in a roasting tray and roast for about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

4. Put the lentils, chicken stock, smoked bacon trimmings, whole carrot, onion, thyme, vinegar and bay leaves into a large sauce pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45-50 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Pick out the bacon, carrot, onion, thyme and bay and set the lentils aside.

5. To make the cauliflower puree: place the cauliflower florets in a pan and pour over the milk. Season with salt and simmer for 10-12 minutes, over a low heat, until tender. Drain the florets, reserving any cooking liquid. Place the cooked cauliflower in a food processor and add about 6 tablespoons of the cooking liquid along with the cream and butter. Season with salt and white pepper, and process to make a smooth puree. Add a little more cooking liquid if the puree looks too thick - it should be a soft dropping consistency. If you're not using the puree straight away, cover with plastic wrap and leave on one side.

6. Meanwhile, melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and sauté the carrot and celeriac for a few minutes, until tender. In a separate frying pan, cook the pancetta until golden brown.

7. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

8. Mix half the cauliflower purée into the lentils, along with the sautéed carrot, celeriac, parsley and truffle oil. Season to taste.

9. Carve the chicken. Place the lentils in the centre of serving plates and arrange the chicken on top. Add a dollop of the remaining warm cauliflower purée and scatter the pancetta around.

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