One Pan Lebanese Chicken + Lentil Pilaf

SONY DSCI have been hardcore craving Lebanese food.  And I’m not talking just a yummy shawarma I can get from a local food truck.  I want the real deal…mamas cooking, preferably.  The authentic flavors, the comfort, all of it.  So I did a little playing around in my kitchen this past week and man have I seen the light!

This One Pan Lebanese Chicken and Lentil Pilaf is not a traditional Lebanese dish.  It is a lazy-cooks version of a couple of dishes combined and can I just say that it’s the best lazy-move I may have ever made in the kitchen?  The most tender, flavorful chicken paired with a savory lentil pilaf is a match made in heaven. 

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Mejadra is a traditional Lebanese rice and lentil pilaf, typically served with blackened or caramelized onions on top.  It’s insanely delish.  Simple, hearty and something I totally love by itself or as a side.  So I thought, hey, what if I make a version of that but throw Lebanese seasoned chicken in with it?  It’s killing two birds with one stone, no?   Less work, less cleanup.  I’m in.

So after marinating the chicken in an amazing spice combination, I seared it in my cast iron skillet so it would brown nicely and release the most savory, delicious pan juices.  I then caramelized diced onion in the juices because, heck, that seemed like a much simpler idea that separately caramelizing onions to put on top of the pilaf.  And then I added my  brown rice, lentils and stock to the pan so that my make-shift Mejadra could cook in all of that pan-dripping-glory.  Holy cow.   Solid move, I have to say.

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And because I love to lather garlic sauce or yogurt sauce on everything Mediterranean under the sun, it was only necessary to pour my favorite cool, tangy yogurt sauce right on top of that warm chicken and lentil bake.  Hallelujah.  Oh my gosh.

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Now all thats left is to serve the chicken and lentils with a traditional, super simple Lebanese salad…you just have to you guys.  The juices and brightness from the salad intertwined with the savory richness of the chicken and lentils…and then the cool yogurt sauce on top.  Hard core craving became a reality, without a doubt.  I honestly can’t tell you the last time I enjoyed a dish this much.  If you have even the slightest love for Mediterranean flavor, this meal is totally for you.  It’s so healthful and my perfect match in the flavor department.   Over and over it will be made in this kitchen!

One Pan Lebanese Chicken + Lentil Pilaf

chicken marinade adapted from this recipe 

notes: ensuring your chicken stock is gluten free will make this meal GF

Ingredients

For the Chicken/Marinade

1 1/2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

1 Large Garlic Clove, finely chopped or pressed

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Corriander

1/4 Teaspoon Paprika

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

For the Lentil Pilaf

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

1 Medium-Large Yellow Onion, diced

3/4 Cup Brown Lentils, rinsed

3/4 Cup Brown Rice

3 Cups Chicken Stock

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Chopped Parsley, for garnish

For the Yogurt Sauce

2 Cups Full Fat Greek Yogurt

1-2 Cloves Garlic

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Dried Mint Leaves

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

For the Chicken/Marinade 

Place Chicken in a large plastic resealable bag.  Add remaining ingredients to the bag, release the air and seal it up.  Toss the chicken around in the spices/olives oil until evenly coated.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

For the Lentil Pilaf

Preheat oven to 375.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet (cast iron works beautifully here).  Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until a nice golden crust forms.  Flip and sear for an additional 2 minutes on the other side.  Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add butter and onion to the pan juices and cook for 7 minutes or until onion turns deep golden and begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally.  Add lentils, rice, stock, salt and pepper to the pan and stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook, covered with a tightly fitting lid, for 30 minutes.

Remove lid and, without stirring the lentils/rice, place the seared chicken and accumulated juices on top of the pilaf.  Place the lid back on the pan and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender and liquid is absorbed.

For the Yogurt  Sauce

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To serve the dish: Spoon Chicken and Lentil Pilaf onto individual plates.  Top with yogurt sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.  Serves 4.

 

 

4 thoughts on “One Pan Lebanese Chicken + Lentil Pilaf

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