Chicken is a meat my LO loves to eat on a regular basis. Not much that I can do but yes I can certainly find alternatives to turn it into a super nutritious meal. This morning when my 4 year old was going to school, as always she requested me to make chicken for her after school lunch. I wasn’t unwilling but at the same time it forced me to think out a way wherein she could get all her nutrition from a well balanced dish. Immediately an idea struck and I knew I was making a stew. Lentils are always stocked up in my pantry, so didn’t have to give it a second thought. Digged into the fridge and found a pack of fresh spinach. Spinach is well known for its rich vitamins and nutritional qualities and has always been regarded as a plant with excellent abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. I was now crystal clear on what I had to cook – Chicken stew with red lentils and spinach!
The quality and goodness of this stew is beyond imagination. You would not know unless you try! It is vital for the red lentils to hold their shape after cooking. That, along with the spinach gives a unique texture and consistency to this stew. I used chicken broth to render additional flavors – Swanson Chicken Broth. It is the best available brand in my country. A great broth with perfectly balanced flavors of chicken, vegetables and seasoning. Moreover it has a low sodium content, which is important to check before you buy any packaged stock.
This stew is hearty, wholesome, deeply nourishing and satisfying. There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of comfort food and this is an all time winner. The daughter did enjoy her lunch for sure and the fact that I was able to squeeze in loads of good nutrition was a matter of instant gratification, happiness and pride for me! 🙂
Chicken – 5 drumsticks (I used drumsticks but you can use thighs or breasts too)
Spinach – washed and chopped roughly
Red lentils – 1/2 cup
Bay leaves – 3-4
Onions – 1 large (finely chopped)
Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves (finely chopped)
Tomato – 2 large (pureed) Alternatively, you can use canned crushed tomatoes.
Paprika – 1 tsp
Ground cumin – 1 tsp
Chicken broth – 1 cup
Lemon juice – Juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon (taste and adjust – will depend on how acidic your tomatoes are)
Coriander leaves for garnish – finely chopped
Salt – as per taste
Heat some oil in a pan.
Add the chopped onions and bay leaves.
Saute until the onions are golden brown.
Add the finely chopped garlic and saute for a few mins.
When the garlic turns soft, add the pureed tomatoes. Mix and saute for a few mins.
Now add the chicken. Coat well with the onion-tomato mixture and sear the chicken for a few mins.
Wash the spinach leaves under cold running water a few times to remove any dirt. Chop the leaves finely.
Now add the spinach leaves and the red lentils.
Mix everything well. Then add the chicken broth. Add the paprika and ground cumin. Mix well. Cover and let this simmer for at least 20 mins or until the lentils and chicken are cooked.
After 20 mins, open the lid. Add salt and lemon juice. Cover and let this simmer for another 5 mins. (Make sure the lentils don’t dissolve and are able to hold their shape).
When it is done, switch off the flame. Carefully remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with bread. This is a healthy and nutritious one-pot stew which does not really require a lot of work and your whole family will love it. Bon Appetit!