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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Pollo al Horno con Lentejas: Oven-Baked Chicken with Lentils

Pollo al Horno con Lentejas

A favourite of many Peruvians, this classic dish consists of marinated baked chicken served with lentils and rice.

Both incredibly delicious and nutritious, this is a recipe prepared in almost every Peruvian household, usually on a Monday when Peruvians tend to eat lentils. Discover more about this recipe and how you can make it in a matter of minutes.

What is Pollo al Horno con Lentejas?

Pollo al Horno con Lentejas, or "Baked Chicken with Lentils," is a traditional Peruvian dish comprising two delicious elements - marinated chicken with a blend of spices and flavorful lentils packed with the flavors of onions and garlic.

To prepare the chicken, we normally use chicken thighs as these tend to be the juiciest cut, but other people use chicken breasts or simply cook a whole chicken. Marinated with a variety of spices such as salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin, as well as other ingredients like soy sauce, wine, and orange, the chicken is baked slowly until it soaks up all the flavor. This results in extremely juicy and tender meat with a crispy skin.

The lentils are typically made by first creating a sauce, known as an "aderezo." Consisting of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and aji panca - a native chili pepper, the lentils are mixed together and seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, and bay leaf.

As with many Peruvian dishes, the result is a dish full of deep, rich flavors that taste amazing. Normally served with white rice and a salad, it's a very satisfying dish and one that many Peruvians enjoy at least once a week.

Why do Peruvians Eat Lentils on Mondays?

In Peru, lentils are traditionally consumed on a Monday. Here are some reasons why:

  • Symbol of Wealth and Prosperity: In Peru, lentils are seen as a symbol of wealth, prosperity, and good luck. Many believe that eating lentils on a Monday brings good luck for the week ahead.

  • Nutritious Choice: The weekends tend to be reserved for eating out at restaurants, such as Chifas or Pollerías, which are typically not the healthiest options. Full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, eating lentils at the beginning of the week helps cleanse the body from the weekend.

  • The Perfect Leftover Choice: In Peruvian cuisine, many lentil dishes typically combine leftover ingredients, making it the perfect meal to prepare early in the week to help minimize food waste.

Peruvian Dishes Containing Lentils

Receta Peruana de Lentejas

Lentils are considered an important staple in Peruvian gastronomy, and there's a variety of different dishes that use lentils as one of the principal ingredients, including:

  • Sopa de Lentejas: A nutritious and filling lentil soup.

  • Guiso de Lentejas: A classic lentil stew, typically served with white rice and a salsa criolla.

  • Hamburguesa de Lentejas: A vegetarian/vegan-friendly alternative to a beef burger, this burger patty is made from ground lentils.

How to make a Peruvian Chicken and Lentil Stew

To prepare a delicious, Peruvian-style "Pollo al Horno con Lentejas," simply follow the steps below:

Prepare the Baked Chicken:

  1. Cut and Season the Chicken: Cut the chicken into pieces and in a large bowl, marinate with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, aji panca, garlic paste, and any other remaining flavorings. Mix together well and leave to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

  2. Bake the Chicken: Place the chicken on a roasting tray. Add a couple of knobs of butter and put it in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Cook the Lentils: Ensure that the lentils have been soaked for a minimum of two hours in advance. In a large pot, boil the lentils with bay leaves.

  2. Prepare the Aderezo (Sauce): In a separate pot, fry onions and add garlic paste, aji panca, salt, pepper, and cumin.

  3. Add the Lentils: Add the boiled lentils to the pot and mix together well.

  4. Serve: Serve the lentils hot with the baked chicken.

Peruvian Chicken and Lentils Recipe

If you prefer a visual guide for your recipes, please watch the video below:

Chicken and Lentil Stew Ingredients

For the Lentils:

  • 500 gr of cooked lentils

  • 1 tablespoon of aji panca paste

  • 1 1/2 chopped onion

  • 3 garlic cloves (or 1 tablespoon of garlic paste)

  • 2 chopped tomatoes

  • Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaf to taste

For the Chicken:

  • 5 pieces of chicken

  • Salt, pepper, oregano and cumin to taste

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon of aji panca

  • 1/2 an orange

  • 6 tablespoons of red wine

  • 1 teaspoon of American mustard

  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce


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