Italian Red Lentil & Tomato Stew, with Lemon and Thyme Chicken

Italian Red Lentil & Tomato Stew, with Lemon and Thyme Chicken:

This is quite versatile inasmuch as the same flavour combos from the chicken can be transposed to white fishes (such as sea bass, cod and sea bream) and mushrooms, for variation on your source of protein. And you can bulk out the stew with things like kale, any type of broccoli, romanesco and asparagus.

You can either get ready to cook red lentils, soak them over night, or first thing in the morning. It’s not a big task and worth doing rather than paying extra for strait to pan stuff.

You can also choose to go for less fat with chicken breast, or more flavour with chicken leg and thigh. You can also choose to mix in your protein or store it on top.

Keep some basil back, and make sure you’ve got some parmesan knocking about as it makes the difference to garnish with a fuck tonne of it at the end.

This is also a good one for knife skills – use that swanky Japanese knife of yours and cut the lemons as fine as you can, in whole slice… They are edible and take on loads of flavour when cooked!


Cooking hack: if you haven’t got time to chop your garlic, onion and celery, use the pulse on a food processor to roughly chop it. It’s going in a stew. No one cares and it will save you 5-10 mins!



  • 100g chicken breast/150g chicken thigh & leg per portion. This recipe is for 14 with thigh and leg: 2.1kg. If fish 150g per portion. If mushrooms, go by instinct/sight as they all behave differently when cooked.
  • 1kg of red lentils (un-soaked). Soak in 2ltr of water. Red lentils don’t need so much time, and if you cook the stew for longer if you have only soaked them for a few hours, you’ll be fine.
  • 1kg of tomatoes. Cherries best. Mixed colours even better! Half cherries / quarter normal / rough dice big ones.
  • 500g of tinned chopped tomato
  • Tomato puree – though if you are trying to go easy on sugars you can omit this.
  • 1 large head of garlic for stew, diced. 1 large head of garlic crushed with skin on by flat of knife, for chicken.
  • 3 large supermarket bags of basil, or equivalent. Chopped.
  • 1 – 1.5 ltrs of good, GF veg or chicken stock.
  •  500 – 1kg of spinach depending on what variant you’re doing.
  • 500g of kale, if wanted
  • 1 head of celery.
  •  8 bay leaves, 24 if fish.
  • 4 large lemons. Sliced very thinly.
  • Fresh thyme (though can use dried), around 4 tablespoons worth, which should be a supermarket bags worth. If using dried thyme, halve amounts.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 300ml white wine (400ml if having to do in 2 batches/in 2 roasting trays)
  • Alternate – 1kg of the above mentioned veg, i.e. broccoli etc.



Chicken  / fish / Broccoli (do first):

  1. If chicken breast – in roasting dish, put a good 4 tablespoons of olive oil, wine, 2 tbl spoon of thyme, crushed garlic and chicken. Season well and then massage all together. Seal tight with foil. Place in oven at 170cm for 30-45 minutes (cut one open and check after 30m)…
  2. If chicken leg and thigh – in roasting dish place wine, olive oil, 1 table thyme, crushed garlic and lemon in roasting pan. Place chine leg and thigh over – without mixing in, to keep skin dry – then season skin well, and sprinkle table spoon of thyme over skin. Place in oven without foil for 30-45 (cut one open and check after 30m).
  3. If fish – same process as 1. However omit garlic and replace thyme with bay leaves. Also, cook for 15-25 mins, check after 15.
  4. For Broccoli same as 1. However, use only about 100ml of wine and roast without foil for 20-30 mins. Check after 20.
  5. Mushrooms: fry off in olive oil with garlic heated in it on a high heat. Add 200ml wine (use sherry for more flavour) and thyme. Season. Omit lemon. Cook in butter if more flavour wanted…. Cook this while stew is simmering.


  1. Coat deep saucepan in 2 ml of olive oil, put on low heat and sweat garlic, onion and celery for about 10 mins.
  2. Bring up to a medium heat and add in fresh tomatoes. 1 packet of Chopped basil, don’t waste stalks, and the other 2 tablespoons of thyme, don’t use stalks.  Cook for 10 mins.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and lentil. Season at this point. Go under, as you will season to taste at end. Cook for 10 mins then add in at least half the stock. Cook for further 10 mins adding stock when needed. Season to taste.
  4. Add another pack of basil, the spinach, and any other veg you want to wilt, mix in and simmer for 10.

To serve:

  1. Place chicken, fish or broccoli on top of stew
  2. Grate a liberal amount of parmasan and sprinkle chopped basil on top
  3. If you want to mix the meat, fish, broccoli mushrooms, you can. May be easier to freeze. Don’t freeze fish, broccoli or mushrooms separate





Miso Pork Broth

Pork, Pak Choi & Miso Broth

I have to admit, I don’t know how this will freeze. It re-heats beautifully though, so keep at least a few days in fridge if you can… Though as there are no needle it should be fine.

I have also included 2 alternatives – sage and szechuan meat balls (more interesting; more fiddly), and Tofu (veggie).

The great thing about prep for this is you slice the ginger and garlic in to fine slices, not diced which saves time.

One thing that I HIGHLY recommend doing with this dish is keeping some of the cut up ginger, chilli, spring onion and radishes to put on fresh when you serves. Keep them in a Tupperware with a damp piece of kitchen roll in it. makes the difference. Same with the toasted sesame seeds.

There is not much cooking time on this, only about 45 mins all in all. So more time for prep!


  • Diced pork shoulder, not too big so cooking time is diminished: 130/150g per portion; Alternative 1 – 100g minced pork shoulder; for this recipe – 2kg for 14 portions
  • 1.5g of Tofu alternate 2. Cubed
  • 1 pak choi per person; 14 pak choi for this recipe; if no pak choi then use sweetheart or white cabbage, about 3 sweetheart or 2 white. For pak choi just take the end of veg and separate 
  • 5 punnets of of mixed oriantal mushrooms (make sure they shiitake in), or 3 packs shiitake and 2 oyster. If you can’t get them just use the best mushrooms you can find. Chopped into large pieces 
  • If you an get samphire & mixed sea veg then that goes well, but not essential. 300g if you do
  • 500g of kale. Take off large 
  • 2 bunches of spring onions. Sliced
  • 2 bags of radish. Sliced into rings
  • 1 large head of garlic, 1 1/2 if small/medium. Slice the garlic the same as the radish
  • Large knob of ginger, around 300g. Sliced
  • 5 red chilli. Sliced
  • 1 300g gluten free Miso paste
  • 1 300ml bottle of tamari or GF soy sauce
  • 2 tbl spoons of diced sage for alternative 1. 
  • Oyster sauce for alternate 1
  • Black pepper, ground
  • Szechuan pepper, ground
  • Toasted (if you can’t get them toasted, normal is fine sesame seeds.
  • Cooking oil (don’t use olive oil as flavour is wrong)
  • 1.5 ltr of water. May need more.


  1. Coat deep, large saucepan in 2ml of oil. Bring to a high heat.
  2. Add heaped tablespoon of Szechuan and sesame seeds to oil (if no szechuan, then normal pepper).  Fry for 30 seconds then add in pork and mushrooms, heaped table spoon of miso and 1 tablespoon of tamari. When meat is browned, cover with boiling water. Leave to simmer for 30 mins.
  3. In frying pan/wok (if too small, may need to do in batches) on high heat, coat in 1ml of oil and add all veg, garlic, chilli, ginger etc… Remember to keep back 1/4 of ginger, chilli, spring onion and radishes for garnish. Then add 1 table spoons of tamari, desert spoon of miso. Fry constantly stir/toss until pak choi is wilted, things are browning. Around 3-5 mins. Keep eye on garlic – take off heat as soon as it looks on the cusp of burning.
  4. Take content of frying pan/wok/other pan and place in pan with meat and mustrooms. Add water to cover content. Add rest of miso. Simmer for 10 mins. Season with tamari and black pepper to taste.
  5. To serve – Garnish with radishes etc and plenty of sesame seeds. Do this from frozen too. It will make a large difference.

Alternate 1:

  1. To make meat balls – add 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and sage and 1 heaped tablespoon of szechaun pepper to pork mince. Mix well and shape into golf ball sized portions.
  2. Fry of in same manner as above, though omit the szeschaun pepper.
  3. All other steps are the same as above – be aware that the oyster sauce is salty, so don’t add all miso and taste before adding in lots of tamari.

Alternate 2 (Veggie):

  1. Follow stage 2 of main recipe, putting in tofu instead of pork. Do not cover in water. Instead, add in more oil and move to stage 3. Be more gentle in your mixing as tofu is pretty soft.
  2. Follow rest of stages as above.





OsNosh – Oswestry’s Community Kitchen


At OsNosh our mission is simple: to cook FREE community meals for everyone who is hungry, struggling or just in need of some company, using food that would otherwise be wasted. Working in partnership with Chalk, our food recycling project aims to create an inclusive, warm and friendly environment where all are welcome. Enjoy seriously good food, and get involved with the whole joy of cooking a simple and healthy meal.

Eat for free at weekly

Come by to OsNosh each week. All you need to bring is yourself, and we’ll keep those bellies full with an exciting and ever-changing menu.

Fundraising events

Come and enjoy a 3 course meal using the same produce we use at our community project. We think you’ll be pretty amazed at what you get.

Looking to the future

We want you to help us prepare basic yet delicious meals and pick up some great skills along the way.


Now check out this menu from our incredibly successful fundraiser at Treflach Farm

Ben Wilson | Culinary CV

Ben Wilson | Culinary CV

An inventive and intuitive cook with experience in running small kitchens, large events and creating original yet balanced menus. Flavour and presentation obsessed, I can match bold and exciting flavours with striking and colourful presentation. Served alongside an attention to detail, good organisation and an inclusive approach to kitchen management… Feel free to check out some examples of my work.


  • Co-founder & head chef at OsNosh – Oswestry’s Community Kitchen. Taking food waste and cooking it for those who need it.
    Specific achievements:  Successful execution of a large outdoor fundraiser – running a kitchen team of 4 to deliver a 3 course meal, utilising food-waste and donated local produce to 50+ covers, whilst also managing logistical tasks outside the kitchen.
  • 3 years as chef and manager at Skibug’s flagship luxury chalet.
    Specific achievements: the attaining of a 5 star rating on Trip Adviser with mention of the exceptional quality of the food and originality in the menu.
  • Leading a small team producing canapes and light bites for Red Chutney film & location catering.
    Specific achievements: running said team to cater for over 500 cast and crew on films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.


Work – Current & Past:

C0-Founder, Co-Director & Head Chef at OsNosh | June 2018 – Current

  • Catering specific roles include: all cooking, kitchen & team management, produce procurement, menu setting & budgeting.
  • Other roles include: events management, logistics, web and marketing design & management, fundraising… And something new every day.


Guest chef at Fat Rabbit | June 2018 – Current

  • Main roles: menu development & kitchen management. This is a single cook role, with no team to manage and a tiny kitchen. So personal kitchen management is essential
  • Specific achievements: the running a successful spoken word and vegan buffet event, as a collaboration between Fat Rabbit and Edible Words.


Chalet Chef  & Chalet Manager at Skibug | November 2013 – February 2018

  • Chalet roles: cooking, menu, kitchen, chalet and staff management, guest organisation & front of house.
  • Company roles: training, website creation, pre-season set up & other logistical roles.
  • Chalet Cookery School, subsidiary of Skibug | July 2017 – September  2017: Tutor – cookery skills, budgeting and food hygiene.


Caterer at Red Chutney Location Catering | April 2013 – July 2014

  • Catering roles: devised and cooked canpes and light bights, also comi, KP and prep-chef roles in main kitchens.
  • Other roles: logistics and driving (vehicles include long wheelbase and tail lift vehicles).


Private Chef | September 2014 – Current

  • Roles include: speaking with client to devise menu, produce procurement (including foraging); wine, beer & spirit paring, setting decor and front of house roles.
  • Specific achievements: creating menu for shoot syndicate based solely on foraged and shot foods.

Other relevant interests & work

  • The organisation, running and promotion of 2 separate spoken word events Oswestry.
  • Freelance web developer – creating quick build WordPress websites.
  • Keen forager and wild camper.
  • Part of project management team for new refurbishment venture.

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