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How Pressure Cooking Sumac Chicken with Lentils Will Make You A Better Lover

Okay, maybe it didn't make me a better lover but it certainly didn't make me any worse!
Last week I made this chicken stew with beluga lentils  and it was so delicious and so easy that I am now on a mission to see how many variations I can come up with. I want to keep it from being boring and maintain the versatility that enables a dish like this to be added to the regular rotation. As I said before, this recipe is more of a template than a buttoned down recipe, allowing you to throw in what you have - the main ingredients being chicken and either brown, green or black lentils - the softer red and yellow will fall apart and turn into mush. I don't think I mentioned it before, but the basic idea for combining lentils and chicken thighs came from Serious Eats. It was one of the first recipes I read when I was first researching ideas for my new pressure cooker.

last week we had chicken thighs, fennel and beluga lentils because that is what was in my fridge
Deciding to use only what was already on hand, I made this Middle Eastern inspired stew, using Puy lentils in place of beluga and it was equally delicious. The sumac and preserved lemon gives it a nice, almost sour flavour that I love and that sort of cuts through the richness of the dish.

Sumac Chicken with Lentils

serves 4-6

3 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced into coins
approx 2.5 lbs or 1 kg skin on, bone in chicken thighs
8 ounces of Puy lentils
2 quarts chicken stock
kosher salt and pepper
bay leaves
3 tsp sumac
1 preserved lemon, skin only, minced
1 handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar

Heat the pot on saute and add in the chopped bacon, sautéing for a couple of minutes until it renders it's fat and starts to brown a bit.

Sprinkle the chicken with some kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Put two or three thighs in the pot, pushing the bacon to the side and leave, undisturbed, for four minutes or so and brown. You can just do this to half the thighs if you want because you will discard the skin later and you just want some nice fond to scrap up.

Remove the chicken and throw the onions and garlic in the pot and stir for a couple of minutes, until softened. Now add in the bay leave, sumac, preserved lemon and the lentils and stir well. Lay your parsely on the top, pour in the stock and sit the thighs on top of that, put the cover on the pot (making sure the valve is set on sealing) and set it on manual for 20 minutes.

When it's done, use a quick release, remove the chicken and let it cool until you can handle it with your fingers. Remove the skin and discard. Pull the meat off of the bones and shred it up roughly before adding the chicken meat back into the pot.

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