Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicken with Puy Lentils and Stinging Nettle Chevre

The cool breezes of spring appear to be going the way of the dodo. My commute home from the office proved to be warm, stagnant and sweaty about the starched collar. Of course, I don't fail to see the rich irony. After a bone-chilling weekend vacation of gales and monsoons, I come home to downright Mediterranean climes. Alas, the barbecue beckons again. What better way to unwind after a long day than to sip a beer whilst sniffing grill smoke under the boughs of a great Manitoba maple?

No recipe notation is really required. The secret to this kind of simple food is to get the best ingredients you can find. The chicken, a farmhouse bird procured from a butcher and the lentils, the best that France could offer. I dappled the chicken in good, strong tasting olive oil, Maldon salt and proper herbs de provence (the kind that comes in a little ceramic jar). I gently grilled the leg quarters till golden brown. The lentils were cooked till tender in a little sauce pan on the side burner of my barbecue. Water and lentils were simply measured by eye and the only additional flavourings: two bay leaves and a few cloves of garlic with the skin left on. Salt to taste once the lentils are tender - about 30 minutes.

While wandering around Kensington market on my lunch hour today I stumbled on a brand of locally produced goat cheese that I have never seen before; it contains stinging nettles. How could I refuse this adventure? I added it to the meal by simply spreading it generously on a piece of grilled day-old baguette with a wee bit of basil (for which I practically bought a forest's worth today). It proved to be very creamy and not quite as sharp as I might have thought. I certainly wasn't dainty eating this stuff. The term 'gorging', perhaps, would be apt.

A perfect, mid-week, early summer supper, washed down with too-cold white wine.

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