Chicken and Black Beluga Lentil Curry Recipe
Gourmet and Chef Alex Mackay
Gourmet recently launched a brand new web site www.merchant-gourmet.com.
As well as an online store to enable you to easily order
Merchant Gourmet products a recipes section has been
created, into which video guides have being incorporated
from top chef Alex Mackay.
Merchant Gourmet was started by Mark Leatham in 1985.
He spent his time looking for the cream of the crop,
and talking about it to la crème de la crème.
Today, Merchant Gourmet now has over forty products
that you will find on the shelves of major supermarkets.
Mark is still looking for more, newer good stuff, and
working with their suppliers. The rest of the team spend
a lot of time cooking and tasting.
The range includes everything from Chestnuts to Porcini
Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Balsamic Syrup. Merchant
Gourmet wants people to use them all the time, rather
than lose them in the back of the cupboard. The big
idea is that a bit of something special can elevate
your lunch or dinner. One ingredient makes all the difference,
if you will.
For written version of recipe please
scroll down page
Mackay . . . the Cook, the Teacher, the Writer and the
is everlasting, ever changing, magical fun. I cook all
the time, very often three times a day. I cook for work,
I cook to relax, I grow things that I want to cook and
I read about how best to cook them. And I really love
to talk and write about it.
fifteen years ago Raymond Blanc called me in Bermuda
to ask me to come back to Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons
and run his Cookery School. That was the day I started
to become less of a chef and more of a cook.
days I'm learning to be a father as I write, appear
on television, run Delia Smith's Cookery Workshops at
Norwich City Football Club and spend as much time as
I can with the wonderful Kids Cookery School. And as
you can see I have also become the Merchant Gourmet
write a monthly recipe feature for Sainsbury's Magazine.
I won The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of
the Year 2006 and was runner up in 2007 and 2008. My
book "Cooking in Provence" won the Gourmand
World Cookbook award for "Best Book on French Cuisine
in English" and was in a short list of three for
"Best First Book" at the Guild of Food Writers
am a regular on Ready Steady Cook on BBC 2 and I have
featured on This Morning and Too Many Cooks on ITV.
I was a regular for five years on UKTV's Great Food
Live and made three thirteen part series for Carlton
cookery workshops at Norwich City Football Club with
Delia Smith are now going into their seventh year.
started working in restaurants completely by chance
after being asked to leave school in New Zealand at
fifteen. I washed dishes for a year before starting
an apprenticeship and then as soon as I finished I bought
a one-way ticket to France. I spent nearly three years
working in the kitchens of two starred Michelin restaurants
in Burgundy, Tours and Courchevel. After this I went
to work for my great friend and mentor Raymond Blanc.
I was promoted to Sous Chef after six months. I left
a year later to get a little rest in Bermuda where at
the age of twenty-three, I was runner up in Bermuda's
Chef of the Year Awards. It was then that RB called
to ask me to the come back to Le Manoir as Director
of L'École de Cuisine and Head of development
for Blanc Restaurants Ltd in charge of all its publishing
and consultancy activities.
time I spent three years at Le Manoir working on Projects
as varied as Raymond Blanc's books and food for Virgin
airlines. I then opened my own school, Le Baou d'Infer,
in Provence. It was soon placed in the world top ten
by the Sunday Times and Conde Nast Traveler as well
as being voted one of the Worlds Finest by House and
Garden Travel. The cookery school is now finished after
fulfilling its five-year plan and, apart from the first
year, always being fully booked.
projects these days are ever more varied, but food,
and people that want to learn about it are always at
live in Oxford with my wife Jess and sons Jake and James.
Smith from her foreword to Alex Mackay's book Cooking
Mackay is, first and foremost, a brilliant chef. Yet
at the same time he is much more than that. He has
a rare and special gift, which goes beyond simply
creating beautiful dishes. That gift is the ability
to teach, inspire and enthuse others who want to learn
how to cook."
Raymond Blanc from the booklet for Alex Mackay's
former Cookery School Le Baou d'Infer:
"I have watched Alex grow with great pride from
a fine chef into a fine teacher and listened with
pleasure to the many guests who have enjoyed his free
style of teaching and learnt so much in their time
with us. The sadness I feel as he leaves is overwhelmed
by the joy of seeing a pupil become a master."
CHICKEN AND BLACK BELUGA LENTIL CURRY RECIPE
This is a light curry sauce, lovely with the lentils
and chicken. Depending on how you feel, you could replace
the chicken with fish, or just let the lentils provide
the protein and serve some rice on the side. Ive
used apple instead of cucumber as the accompaniment
which makes a lovely crisp change.
1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli (LEAVE OUT CHILLI FOR KIDS)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 small skinless chicken breasts, 160g each
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger (approximately 1.5cm piece)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
400ml chicken stock
150ml whipping cream
50g ground almonds
2 packs Ready to Eat Black Beluga® Lentils
8 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 large red apple
20 large leaves of mint
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Preheat your oven to 200c/Fan 180c/Gas 6.
the spices together, separate into one third and two
thirds. Set the two thirds aside.
the chicken breasts shiny side up with the fatter
end facing away from you on the baking tray. Brush
with 1 tablespoon of oil, season with salt then rub
the one third of the spice mixture over the top.
the tray in the oven with the fatter end of the breasts
towards the back and cook for 14 minutes. Turn the
oven off, open the door and leave it slightly ajar
while the chicken rests for at least 5minutes and
as much as 10minutes.
make the curry sauce, put 1 tablespoon of vegetable
oil into a large shallow saucepan, add the onions,
garlic and ginger then cover and soften over medium
heat for 6minutes.
the tomato puree and the two thirds of the spice mixture.
the heat to high and then fry for 2 minutes.
the almonds, chicken stock and cream, bring to boil,
turn the heat down then simmer for 5 minutes.
the lentils, simmer for 2minutes then season to taste
the apple in half, remove the core then chop into
small chunks, mix with the lemon zest, lemon juice
and the mint.
the chicken breasts (optional), put them onto the
lentils then spoon the apple relish and yogurt over
The curried lentils will keep for a couple of days
in the fridge and also freeze very well.
Both my boys, aged 4 years and 20 months at time of
writing, like gentle curries. When I gave Jake the
spices to smell before they were cooked he didnt
like their smell, but he loved the mixture on the
chicken and with the lentils. This was a great reminder
that it is almost never a problem to season food for
kids with spices; it is simply the quantities, so
go easy and leave out the chilli powder.
In my experience kids also love to add things to
their dinner, so having the yogurt and apple on the
side is a huge plus.
The curried lentils make a lovely puree for babies.