In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare Pesto Roast Chicken.
Pushing flavorings between the skin and breast of a chicken before roasting adds flavour and helps keep the breast moist. Make this with real fresh pesto for a really powerful basil flavour. Adding small ripe plum tomatoes to the roasting tin around the chicken concentrates their flavour and draws out the juices. Baby broad beans add the finishing spring touch, with a dash of green and their sweet young flavour. Serve with buttered pasta.
Preparation time: 14 hours Serves: 6
Ingredients for Pesto Roast Chicken
- 5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) free-range or organic chicken.
- 4-6 tablespoons My Homemade Pesto.
- Freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil.
- 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) broad beans in the pod, to give about 350 g (12 oz) podded beans, or 350 g (12 oz) frozen broad beans.
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) baby plum tomatoes (pomodorini).
- 2 Sprigs of fresh thyme.
How to make Pesto Roast Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Untruss the chicken and let it come to cool room temperature before cooking.
- With your fingers, loosen the skin around the neck area of the chicken, and slowly work your hands under the skin, loosening it from the breast all the way towards the thighs. Now take the pesto in your hand and smooth it all over the breast, right down to the thigh joints, to form an even layer under the skin. Pat the skin down again to remove any air pockets. Tuck the loose neck flap under the bird. Sit the chicken in a roomy roasting tin and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if using fresh beans, take them out of their furry pods. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water to cool them down quickly. Drain again and pop them out of their grey skins. (If using frozen beans, cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then follow the instructions for the fresh ones.)
- After 40 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and turn the heat up to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
- Add the tomatoes and pour over the remaining oil. Mix the tomatoes around and season them. Tuck in the thyme and put the chicken and tomatoes back in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have collapsed slightly and the skins are beginning to brown. Whip the tin out of the oven, pierce the chicken in the thickest part of a leg with a skewer or small sharp knife to see if it’s cooked and the juices run clear, and lift it out on to a carving board. Cover and keep warm while you finish the stew.
- Mix the beans into the tomatoes and cooking juices. Pop the tin back in the oven for a few minutes, to heat up the beans.
- Season well and serve with the chicken.