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More Nigella recipes

Chicken and Pea Traybake

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

I thought I had exhausted the culinary possibilities of a pack of frozen peas, but my friend, and excellent cook, Alex Andreou, led me by the hand – it does take a leap of faith – to his method of using them, still frozen, as the first layer of a traybake. It’s a life-changer. The peas become soft and sweet in the heat – duller in colour, but so much more vibrant in flavour – and the steam they produce as they bake makes the chicken beautifully tender, its skin crackly and crisp on top.

What’s key here is the size of the roasting tin. I wouldn’t go any smaller – measuring from inside rim to inside rim – than about 38 x 28cm / 15 x 11inches (a little larger is fine) as there needs to be space around the chicken thighs for the magic to happen.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I thought I had exhausted the culinary possibilities of a pack of frozen peas, but my friend, and excellent cook, Alex Andreou, led me by the hand – it does take a leap of faith – to his method of using them, still frozen, as the first layer of a traybake. It’s a life-changer. The peas become soft and sweet in the heat – duller in colour, but so much more vibrant in flavour – and the steam they produce as they bake makes the chicken beautifully tender, its skin crackly and crisp on top.

What’s key here is the size of the roasting tin. I wouldn’t go any smaller – measuring from inside rim to inside rim – than about 38 x 28cm / 15 x 11inches (a little larger is fine) as there needs to be space around the chicken thighs for the magic to happen.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Chicken and Pea Traybake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 4

Metric Cups
  • 900 grams frozen petits pois
  • 400 grams trimmed leeks (cut into approx. 3cm/ 1 inch slices)
  • 2 fat cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons dry white vermouth or wine
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons regular olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill (torn into pieces)
  • 8 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in
  • 7 cups frozen petits pois
  • 4 -5 medium-large trimmed leeks (cut into approx. 3cm/ 1 inch slices)
  • 2 fat cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ¼ cup dry white vermouth or wine
  • 2 tablespoons regular olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill (torn into pieces)
  • 8 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F and clatter the frozen peas into a large roasting tin, followed by the leeks, garlic, vermouth, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes and most of the dill. Turn everything together in the pan – breaking up any large clumps of the frozen peas – until well mixed. I advise you to wear CSI gloves for this, just to stop you getting frostbite, though you still will feel the cold.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top, then drizzle them with a little olive oil and give them a good sprinkling of sea salt flakes, before roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the peas a small stir or tamp down, so that the few that are sitting on the surface and drying out a little are submerged in the liquid. Don’t do the same to the leeks, however, as the bits that are peeking out will become desirably caramelised in the heat. Put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, by which time the peas and leeks will be soft, and the chicken tender and cooked through, its skin golden and crisp.
  3. Tear off the remaining dill fronds, and scatter over the top on serving, perhaps with some simply steamed new potatoes to soak up the pea and chicken juices.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F and clatter the frozen peas into a large roasting tin, followed by the leeks, garlic, vermouth, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and most of the dill. Turn everything together in the pan – breaking up any large clumps of the frozen peas – until well mixed. I advise you to wear CSI gloves for this, just to stop you getting frostbite, though you still will feel the cold.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top, then drizzle them with a little olive oil and give them a good sprinkling of kosher salt, before roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the peas a small stir or tamp down, so that the few that are sitting on the surface and drying out a little are submerged in the liquid. Don’t do the same to the leeks, however, as the bits that are peeking out will become desirably caramelised in the heat. Put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, by which time the peas and leeks will be soft, and the chicken tender and cooked through, its skin golden and crisp.
  3. Tear off the remaining dill fronds, and scatter over the top on serving, perhaps with some simply steamed new potatoes to soak up the pea and chicken juices.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, within 2 hour of cooking, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan or microwave until piping hot all the way through.

If you prefer, you can use light chicken stock in place of the vermouth or wine.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, within 2 hour of cooking, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan or microwave until piping hot all the way through.

If you prefer, you can use light chicken stock in place of the vermouth or wine.

Tell us what you think

What 43 Others have said

  • Ok, the supermarket had run out of anything chicken thanks to pandemic panic buying. However they had turkey thighs which turned out fantastic with lovely crispy skin. Very easy but lovely dish to make.

    Posted by bunnyette on 26th March 2020
  • Love this! I've made it in a skillet as well and works great! Just substituted preserved lemons (that I made back in Jan) for the dill because the store I went to was out of dill. Delish!

    Posted by letthemhavecake96 on 22nd March 2020
  • I’ve made this recipe so many times but I have started substituting a bag of frozen broad beans for the peas. I like these because they are “meatier” and really no need for a starch with the meal. Thanks for the lovely recipes.

    Posted by DebbieDiva on 18th February 2020
  • I’ve made this many times for various people and it’s interesting how discussions slow down and everyone starts talking about this dish instead. Absolutely everyone I’ve served this to loves the combination of the vermouth dowsed peas and the tenderness of the chicken. I like to make this with Nigella’s salt and vinegar potatoes, so I have to modulate the heat in the oven a bit since the recipes use different temperatures. Basically, I steam and prepare the potatoes as directed and at the 45 minute mark for the chicken, I take it out as instructed to mix a bit but then turn the oven up to 450 F and put it back in and start the cooking of the potatoes on the other rack. As such, the chicken will tend to be ready a few minutes before the next 30 minute recommended checkpoint and it rests while the potatoes finish up. Wonderful meal that always gets raves!

    Posted by Rossbeigh on 22nd January 2020
  • A lovely succulent chicken dish. Thought that the chicken may be too dry but it wasn't. For my family I think there were too many peas so may substitute some sweet corn next time and do half the peas.

    Posted by Aitchy on 4th August 2019
  • Loved this recipe & will definitely do again!

    Posted by Mizz_Bee on 26th June 2019
  • Made this for family dinner - everyone loved it. Chicken delicious, peas and leeks divine! Served with creamed potatoes and vegetables. Will definitely make again!

    Posted by RachelLogan on 24th June 2019
  • Best chicken ever!!! Love it!!!

    Posted by marianthi on 5th June 2019
  • I'm making this delish meal tonight for the 5th time. It fills the kitchen with a wonderful aroma. It's easy ,no fail and definite comfort food - especially on a rainy day like today.

    Posted by lin5335-_ on 19th May 2019
  • Tried this one and it was yummy. Will definitely make it again. However the chicken took longer than the said 75 minutes to brown. I increased the heat and put it on the higher shelf for an additional 15 minutes or so. And voila, it worked. Nor burnt peas nor leeks...

    Posted by HouseofRose on 25th March 2019
  • I made this and followed the recipe to the T. I am a terrible cook but this was perfect.

    Posted by Jamolisa on 23rd March 2019
  • 75 minutes for crispy chicken, but desiccated peas, and charred leaks was a sad waste of Vermouth. I will try again, because I want this to taste as good as everyone else has commented, but I'm drinking the Vermouth, and using chicken stock.

    Posted by karyl on 12th March 2019
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