A collection of one pot family meals is a useful resource when there is limited time available to prepare and cook dinner. The main bonus of a one pot meal is that it is a complete meal, ready to serve. There are no additional pans to monitor or wash, or ingredients required unless you wish to add a side dish. Ideally you should use a pot that can be transferred from the stove top to the oven. This maintains a stable cooking temperature and also means less washing up is required.
This chicken and vegetable bake does take time to cook in the oven but no monitoring is required during the cooking period. You are free to work on other activities while it bakes. Get ahead of the usual evening schedule by doing the kids reading, homework, bath and the next days lunch boxes – or enjoy the break from the frantic dinner preparation period and just sit, spend some time talking or relaxing with the family.
The addition of the lentils provides a wonderful base to serve the chicken and vegetables on. They are filling and wholesome and soak up all of the flavor of the other ingredients as they cook. Any left over lentils can be enjoyed the following day for lunch or alongside the next evenings meal.
Seasonal Winter fennel is a perfect partner to chicken. I utilised the feathery leaves of the fennel to dress and freshen the dish as I served it and the sliced bulb adds a depth of flavour to the vegetable base. If you are planning on making soup the stems off the bulb can be saved from this meal and used for that, or to add to stock.
- 1 tablespoon oil of choice
- 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb - sliced
- 500 grams chicken drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 carrot - peeled and diced
- ½ sweet potato - peeled and diced
- 1 capsicum - sliced
- 1 lemon - juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 cup fine green lentils - Mount Zero biodynamic french style
- 400 grams diced tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- fennel leaves to serve
- Add a simple salad as a side if you wish
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees
- Add the oil and garlic to a warmed pan and then add the fennel when the garlic is fragrant
- Gently cook for 3 minutes and then remove from the pan
- Turn up the heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides
- Add the fennel back into the pot and then the red wine vinegar
- Add the other vegetables, lemon juice and zest and sumac
- Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock and jiggle the pan to settle all of the contents below the liquid.
- Cover the pot with a lid and add it to the oven
- Bake in the heated oven for one hour
- Serve with fresh fennel leaves and side salad if desired
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