There are a lot of things we love about this recipe: It's made in one pot for one. It can feed a dinner party for under $25 for another. And it's a comforting mixture of hearty French lentils, crisp bread crumbs, fresh herbs and punchy escarole—basically, it hits all the right textural and flavor notes without working too hard.
To learn more, read "Pot Party."
One-Pot Meal: French Lentils with Chicken with Escarole
Recipe adapted from Dawn Perry, Tasting Table contributor
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
1 parsley bunch, stems and leaves divided (2 cups chopped parsley)
1 medium yellow onion (1¼ cups chopped onion)
2 medium carrots (⅔ cup chopped carrots)
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (2 teaspoons chopped garlic)
½ Fresno chile, chopped (2 to 3 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, patted dry
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups (14 ounces) French lentils, rinsed and picked over
4½ cups water
4 cups small-torn crusty bread (1 baguette)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
1 small escarole head, leaves separated (11 to 12 cups leaves)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Roughly chop the parsley stems and place them in a food processor. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and chile, and pulse until finely chopped; set aside.
3. In a large, wide Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot, skin-sides down, and cook until deeply browned on both sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the chicken legs to a plate, skin-sides up. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove the crispy chicken skin, roughly chop and set aside.
4. Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 5 minutes. Add the chicken, lentils and water, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer, 7 to 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the pot to the preheated oven and cook, uncovered, until the lentils are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°.
6. While the chicken and lentils are cooking, in a medium bowl, combine the torn bread with ⅔ of the parsley leaves, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
7. When the lentils and chicken are cooked through, remove the chicken and transfer to a cutting board. Using two forks, remove the meat from the bones in large pieces and return the meat to the lentils; discard the bones. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Alternate layering parsley bread mixture, chicken-skin pieces and ½ of the escarole leaves over the top. Return the pot to the oven and bake until the bread pieces are golden and the chicken skin and escarole are crispy, 12 to 15 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, whisk the mustard with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the remaining escarole and parsley leaves, tossing to coat. Top the chicken and lentils with the escarole-parsley salad and serve.