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Chicken, date, orange and split pea tray bake

Main Midweek
Serves 4-6
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr

This traybake was first published a few years ago, and has been made many times since. This iteration bakes uncovered in the oven, and has the addition of dates and red split lentils. The dates and oranges are half braised and then roasted as the liquid is absorbed by the peas, allowing for the tops to crisp and caramelise. The base is something of a self-saucing dal, as the chicken cooks the marinade gently flavours the split peas and lentils underneath. It makes a wonderful mid-week dinner but works well as a centrepiece too. Serve with rice and yoghurt as part of a bigger feast. To get ahead, soak the split peas and marinade the chicken up to a day in advance.

Follow the full recipe


300g yellow split peas
6 chicken legs (1.5kg)
2 oranges; 1 tsp finely grated zest, 100ml juice, plus 1 orange halved and cut into 2mm half moons
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp nigella seeds
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
75g red lentils
500ml chicken stock
2 heads garlic, top 1 cm removed to expose cloves
6 dates, stones removed, cut into 3 cm pieces
20g coriander; 1 bunch, plus 2 tbsp finely chopped leaves
fine sea salt and black pepper


  1. Place the split peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Combine the chicken, orange zest and juice, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, nigella, oil, vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl and leave to marinate for 1 hour. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C fan
  4. Strain the split peas, discarding the water, and transfer to a large 30x20cm roasting tray. Add the red lentils and cover with the chicken stock, 300 ml water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Nestle the chicken pieces on top of the split peas, then place the orange slices, garlic and the whole bunch of coriander between the chicken pieces, half submerging them in the liquid. Scatter over the dates and roast in the oven for 1 hour. 
  5. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle over the chopped coriander and a tablespoon of oil. Use a spoon to gently mix the peas and lentils, to create a dal-like consistency as you serve.