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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 48 Others have said

  • Fab meal, super healthy and less than 5 mins prep. It’s a winner in our house and about to be a regular mid week meal. Thank you Nigella!

    Posted by Barefootinthesand on 25th August 2020
  • Substituted tarragon for dill - lovely.

    Posted by rebhip on 26th May 2020
  • Had this in my sights for a while and finally made it tonight. Made one dish as per recipe for four carnivores, and a separate tray of peas, leeks and garlic, popping a couple of sea bass fillets on for last 12 minutes for the vegetarians. Added some cherry tomatoes towards the end. Had it with oven roasted new potatoes. Thumbs up from the six of us sharing lockdown!

    Posted by GregorH on 7th May 2020
  • Made this today. Had to make an adaption, due to receiving boned, skinless chicken thighs in my grocery delivery as a substitute. Also had a red pepper and some cherry tomatoes which looked like they were going to walk to the compost heap. Due to lack of bone in chicken, it was beautifully cooked at 55mins, and I think the tomatoes and pepper made it look more vibrant. Anyway, it was delish and will definitely be cooking this again!

    Posted by martin153 on 2nd May 2020
  • Made this for Sunday dinner...for six of us, during Lockdown 2020. Despite the little tip there at the end, there weren't any leftovers!

    Posted by ccaley on 26th April 2020
  • 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
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