Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Lentils


Ah the one pot wonder. Such a salve on weeknight stress for its ease of preparation and clean up. When reaching for such a sense of ease, Donna Hay is right up there. At these heights we find roasted chicken on a bed of lentils and leeks, with little tomatoes waiting to explode in bursts of concentrated flavour all in a chicken stock group hug, more than happy to share around the smoky pancetta and rosemary with everyone at the love in. For the man looking for an easy dinner plan, this has to be another winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Vegetable oil (I used canola)

8 x 200g chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, trimmed (I used boneless and skinless without issue)

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced

150g pancetta, chopped

2 sprigs rosemary (I’ve used dried thyme with this before and found happiness)

1 x 400g can green lentils, drained and rinsed

250g cherry tomatoes

1 cup (250mls chicken stock)

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (can be omitted without issue)


Put the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan over a high heat (or if you’re like me with a big heavy enamel deal that comes with a manual full of instructions, use more oil on a low heat, but let it heat up for at least 3 minutes). Season the chicken with salt and pepper then stick it in the pan skin side down for 7 minutes, followed by 7 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Put the leeks, pancetta and rosemary into the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Try to avoid the temptation the aroma will give you to just stick your head into the pan and gobble the pancetta and leeks coated in chicken juicy goodness. Introduce the lentils, tomatoes and stock to the proceedings, and invite the chicken thighs (and the juices likely sitting in the bowl you let them rest in) to luxuriate on top of the whole deal. Then shove everything in the oven for 12 minutes.


Open the oven door to a world of happy smells and placated gentlewomen callers. This goes double if you don’t normally cook. To paraphrase Sean Connery in Finding Forrester: An unexpected gesture, at an unexpected time.

23 thoughts on “Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Lentils

  1. “all in chicken stock group hug”


    By the way, I think my kitchen-impaired female friends would frown at you (just a little, because, aww, who can stay mad at Mr. Peckish?), for assuming all women can cook. I’ve been friends with someone who considers the intake of instant fried rice and a carton of Minute Maid orange juice from a day to day basis as a sustainable way of living #facepalm

    On another note, GIIIIIIIMME A PLAAAAATE. In fact, give me the whole pot. I’ve only recently got into leeks and this is a nice recipe to try out for the ones I have right now! Can I sub green lentils for chickpeas? I’m dreadfully lazy and don’t want to bother lookin’ high and low for ’em in this Inaka town. Hehehe.

    1. I got into cooking partly because Mrs P told me she didn’t cook, so if I’ve come across as assuming, it’s entirely unintentional. But I feel I can most easily speak to the male learner experience in the kitchen, especially in relation to one who comes a wooing. I feel like including kitchen-impaired females in a call to get into the kitchen would be equally frown inducing.

      No lentils handy? Hmph. I don’t see why chickpeas wouldn’t work. Mrs P would prefer lentils I imagine though, probably because the tinned variety are a little less nutty to her than chickpeas and surrender to the surrounding flavour more readily. I’ll have to give that a try next time because I think we have a can chilling in the pantry with nothing on their dance card.

      1. Goodness I actually can’t even recall the last time I had bread.. No matter, the Duck will taste this, made by someone else of course, my cooking stories are quite phenomenal.

  2. This looks wonderful and I bet the aroma (as you confirmed) was wonderful! I never thought of this and am sure that I’ll be doing something inspired by this 🙂

  3. Oh, I made a bad dinner tonight. Burnt, horrid…I wish I’d tried something that required no memory. I made the roasted beets with goat cheese and FORGOT THEY WERE IN THE OVEN. and I burned my finger, too. And I’m still hungry. Grrrrr…if I could live on pics of food I would.

    1. Was that Sam’s recipe? Boy that looks good, but yeah, sometimes I need recipes with a very low level of thinking. I might do a Peckish bloopers post to show all the behind the scenes food moments that didn’t make it to air.

  4. I’m making a variation of this now for a friend who’s coming over for dinner! It is a VARIATION since I dont have lentils at hand nor some other stuff…

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