Tomatoes and peas are an unfamiliar marriage made in heaven. I discovered that first in salads; cooked peas with diced tomato but together in almost any salad you care to mention. I particularly love soft and gooey, sweet and luscious roast tomato halves with the freshest, sweetest new season peas or petits pois from the freezer. Here both are added to a fricassee of chicken with onion, garlic, white wine and stock, the red and green added towards the end of cooking. It looks stunning, as you can see, tastes fresh and vibrant and is no trouble to make. I garnished it with basil but that’s an optional extra I served it with Cornish Earlies, the deliciously flavoured new potatoes that more than rival Jersey Royals and are widely available now.
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 25 min plus 30 min approx for the tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
4 chicken thigh fillets
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
300g podded peas or frozen petits pois
10 basil leaves
Assuming you haven’t already got roast tomatoes stashed in a plastic box in the fridge (I roast a big tray of them at a time; so useful for so many dishes as you’ve doubtless heard me say before), heat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Halve the tomatoes round their middles, place on a foil-lined small roasting tin/frying pan, smear the cut surfaces with olive oil and place in the oven without waiting for it to come up to temperature. I would normally cook them far longer at a much lower temperature but their flavour concentrates and intensifies almost as much done quickly like this. Cook for about 25 minutes while you do everything else, checking with a quick squeeze that they are squashy then remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool. Halve and thin slice the onion and soften in a spacious, lidded frying/sauté pan, adding a generous pinch of salt to encourage them to wilt. Crack the garlic, flake away the skin and slice in skinny rounds. Add the garlic to the pan when the onion is nicely wilted. Meanwhile, slice the chicken in bite-size pieces, dust with flour and stir the pieces into the softened onion. Toss as the pieces brown and once evenly browned, add the wine and let it bubble up as you stir to knock the flour into the sauce. Add the stock, keep stirring and adjust the heat so everything cooks gently. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes while you cook then drain the peas and return to a lidded pan to keep warm. Season the chicken to taste and when ready to serve – the chicken can be kept on hold and reheated later – add the peas, slip the tomatoes off their skins, cutting then into pieces and add to the pan. Stir loosely to merge, add shredded basil and serve.