Carrots are just beginning to come into season, here is a dish that is simple to make, yet very tasty. When Spring hits, I look forward to the lighter vegetables in season, and am usually ready to let go of all root vegetables, but I have to say I love carrots year round. They can pretty much be used in any way, shape or form. Raw, baked, grilled, sautéed, or even confit.
And anywhere I can stick basil pesto into a recipe, I will. Basil acts as a phytochemical which is an anti-oxidant; the garlic reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.
As for the black lentils, they are loaded with iron. You could honestly eliminate the chicken from this recipe and get plenty of protein just from the lentils. They are also a soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol and improve immune function.
Grenache or a Zinfandel would pair very well. The bright fruit flavors and high acid structure will complement basil pesto, carrots and garlic.
Ingredients: Serves 4
-1 whole chicken
-homemade or store bought pesto; 1/2 cup
-4 tbsp salted butter
-1 1/2 lbs multi-colored carrots
-1/2 cup minced onion
-3 minced garlic cloves
-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
-2 cups black lentils (you can substitute with regular lentils)
-2 tbsp paprika
-1 tbsp cayenne
-salt and pepper to taste
First, start the barbecue or preheat the oven ( If you are baking the chicken in the oven, bake on 375 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). I smoked the chicken, so I cooked it on 200 degrees for 2 hours or until it reached the correct temp. Mix together the pesto and butter and then stuff it into the skin on the chicken as far down as you can. You want to try to cover as much space as possible on the chicken. It’s ready to smoke. When the chicken is done let rest for at least 30 minutes until carving, this will allow the juices to rest and stay within the chicken and not run out.
Next, in a saucepan, place a little oil in, and sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat until golden. Add the broth, lentils, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are done.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees for the carrots. Combine the carrots, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp paprika, and 1/2 tbsp cayenne. Toss well, then arrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes.
When all components of this dish are done, place the lentil down first on a serving plate. Next, place the carrots on the lentils and then sliced chicken on top. You can garnish with extra pesto if you wish to add color to the dish.