Recipes Main Courses Poultry and Game Nomad Chicken and Lentils

Nomad Chicken and Lentils

Prep Time: 120 minutes
Cook Time: 120 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

James Kent, executive chef at New York’s City’s NoMad Hotel, is known for his ability to pull off deliciously complex dishes, which led to him representing the United States in the international finals of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition in France. Here, we have simplified one of his dishes to make it more accessible to the home cook. Cotechino is a type of fresh pork sausage that is traditionally served with lentils to celebrate the New Year in Italy. Unlike salami, which has a somewhat similar flavor, cotechino must be cooked by simmering it over low heat for 2 to 3 hours before using it in a recipe. If you can’t find it, you can substitute another fresh Italian pork sausage, simmered or steamed until cooked through.


For the pickled carrots:

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) diced carrots

For the chicken:

  • 1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 lb. (1.75 to 2 kg)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbs. grapeseed or canola oil

For the lentils:

  • 2 cups (14 oz./440 g) beluga or green Le Puy lentils
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) chicken stock
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Large pinch of salt

For finishing the dish:

  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) minced shallots
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken stock
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 12 oz. (375 g) assorted wild mushrooms, trimmed, brushed clean and sliced
  • 8 oz. (250 g) cooked cotechino sausage or sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) rounds


To make the pickled carrots, in a saucepan over high heat, stir together the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Add the carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, cover and store for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

To prepare the chicken, rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken liberally inside and out with salt and place the lemon wedges and thyme sprigs inside the chicken cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

In a 4-quart Staub universal pan or a braiser or Dutch oven of similar size over high heat, warm the grapeseed oil. Add the chicken and brown it on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Once the chicken is browned, turn it breast side up in the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F (77°C), about 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, make the lentils. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, chicken stock, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain any excess liquid that remains in the pan and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Set aside.

Drain the carrots, reserving the carrots and the pickling liquid separately.

When the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and set aside to rest.

While the chicken is resting, carefully pour off any fat from the pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cinnamon, cloves and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Cook until the sauce has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 Tbs. of the butter and whisk until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer the sauce to a bowl and keep warm.

In the same pan, melt another 2 Tbs. of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give off their juices and the liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and the sausage rounds to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned, about 5 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the cooked lentils, stirring to combine. Fold in the carrots and 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of their pickling liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken into 8 serving pieces and arrange the pieces on top of the lentil mixture. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from James Kent, NoMad Hotel, New York City