Reminiscent of cassoulet--the glorious goose, sausage, and bean casserole from southwestern France--this dish is quicker, easier, and bound to become a winter favorite. If you like, use a green bell pepper in place of the red.
1 2/3 cups lentils (about 2/3 pound)
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 pound dried chorizo or salami, casings removed, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2/3 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, bring the lentils, water, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, the thyme, and bay leaf to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the simmering lentils.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan over moderate heat. Season the chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper and add it to the pan. Cook the chicken, turning, until brown, about 12 minutes in all. Pour off all the fat from the pan. Add the broth, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 15 minutes. Add the pan juices from the chicken to the lentils along with the lemon juice and the parsley. Top with the chicken and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Wine Recommendation: The chorizo, pepper, and lentils pair well with a full-flavored, bold red wine. Two possibilities from France: a red from the Médoc, in Bordeaux, or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the southern Rhône Valley.