Step 1Heat the oven to 225 degrees.
Step 2Place the oil in an 8-quart pot. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, lentils, chicken, cilantro, dates, and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3Heat the sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until melted and dark brown but not burned. Add to the pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 4Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake 6 hours, then test for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if desired. Bake, covered, 6 hours longer.