With chicken wing so tender they melt in your mouth, this comforting stew is infused with the flavor of lentils. Although the dish is lacking in visual appeal, it's an easy traditional European home-cooked dish that's full of nutrition.
Gently rinse the lentils, then soak in twice the amount of water.
Slice the onions lengthwise along the grain. If the celery is tough, remove a few fibers, then diagonally slice. Mince the garlic.
Slowly pan-fry both sides of the chicken wings in a frying pan over medium-high heat until golden brown. No extra oil necessary.
In a separate pot, heat the olive oil, then cook the garlic and red chili pepper until fragrant. Add the onions, celery, and finely sliced bacon, and sauté.
Transfer the chicken wings to the pot, add the bay leaves, then fill with enough boiling water to slightly cover the ingredients. Stew over medium heat for 7-8 minutes.
Once the flavors have combined, add the drained lentils and slowly stew over low heat. Occasionally check the pot and add more water if necessary.
Add the canned tomatoes. Once the lentils become tender, the stew thickens, and the chicken starts falling off of the bones, it's finished simmering.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve. Transfer them to heated bowls and top with finely chopped parsley.
Story Behind this Recipe
I've always loved lentils since they're tasty and easy to use; I use them in salads, curries, and a variety of other dishes. This is a standard meal in our home, since even my husband who dislikes beans will happily eat loads of this stew. Served it with bread or rice, since it has the substance of a main dish item.
By cooking off the excess fat from the chicken wings by slowly pan frying them over medium-high heat, they will turn out light tasting, and will bring out the flavor of the olive oil. (You could also use a paper towel to absorb excess grease from the chicken.) Add the canned tomatoes after the lentils have become almost tender enough to serve.