Roast chicken with watercress pesto

Matt Tebbutt proves how pesto doesnt always need to be made with basil to be delicious
By Matt Tebbutt
Roast chicken with watercress pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the cabbage

  • 1/2 head Savoy cabbage, core removed and quartered
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 4-6 tbsp white wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • clove garlic, thinly sliced

For the pesto

  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 60 g watercress, roughly chopped
  • 20 g parmesan, or pecorino sardo cheese, grated
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil


1. For the chicken: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a medium ovenproof frying pan. Add the chicken breasts, skin-side down, and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned all over. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the thyme and garlic cloves to the pan. Dot the butter around the chicken.

2. Transfer the chicken to the oven and roast for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (the juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced at the thickest part). Set aside to rest for ten minutes in the pan.

3. For the cabbage: put the cabbage quarters and butter into a large pan and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and browned. Add the wine and flambé the cabbage for a couple of seconds before adding the thyme and garlic.

4. For the pesto: heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them lightly for a few minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until golden-brown all over. Transfer the pine nuts to a food processor.

5. Add the chopped watercress, grated cheese and garlic to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil a little at a time until the mixture is well combined. Set aside until ready to serve.

6, Place the chicken breasts and cabbage onto plates, then pour over any remaining juices from the chicken pan. Finish with a dollop of pesto.

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