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Hearty Chicken Stew

ingredients

serves 4
1.4 kg (3 lb) chicken, jointed, or 4 chicken quarters, halved
salt and pepper
2 level tbsp plain flour (All purpose)
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 onions, peeled
2 parsnips, peeled
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large potatoes, peeled
125 g (4 oz) split red lentils
2 bay leaves
1 bouquet garni
2 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
425 g (15 oz) can black eye or red kidney beans
2 zucchinis, sliced
3 tbsp (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp (15 ml) snipped fresh chives, optional

method

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and toss in the flour to coat lightly.

2. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish and brown the chicken in batches on all sides, remove and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the onions. Cut the parsnips, carrots and potatoes into chunks.

4. Fry these vegetables in the casserole, adding a little extra oil if necessary, until lightly browned.

5. Return the chicken to the casserole and add the lentils, bay leaves, bouquet garni, garlic if using and 900 ml (1 1/2 pint) water.

6. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the lentils are soft and mushy.

7. Drain and rinse the beans, then add to the casserole with the courgettes.

8. Season and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the courgettes are just tender.

9. If the sauce is too thin, retrieve a few spoonfuls of vegetables, mash them with a potato masher and return to the stew to thicken it slightly.

10. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and chives, if using, and serve.

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