Recipe: Fresh seasonal flavours make perfect end of summer feast

Di Curtin's twist on a traditional Sunday roast is an old favourite which always conjures a summer feast of fresh seasonal ingredients and vibrant flavours.
Recipe: Fresh seasonal flavours make perfect end of summer feast
Di Curtin's Summer Roast Chicken and Peas.

THE month of August signals the end of the summer season for another year. And what a year it’s been! Definitely one we won’t forget in a hurry!

In the last few weeks, life has gradually begun to return to ‘normal’. It’s encouraging to see so many people taking the opportunity to see their own country this summer.

Yes, we have rain, mist and fog during the summer months. But as they often say here, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! And when the sun shines, is there any nicer place in the world than the emerald green of the countryside and the blue of the ocean around the county of Cork?

A TWIST ON THE TRADITIONAL

Not only is the Rebel County blessed with great scenery, it has great food too. My twist on a traditional Sunday roast is an old favourite which always conjures a summer feast of fresh seasonal ingredients and vibrant flavours. Golden free range chicken, roasted with a tasty garlic rub, then finished with a nutty basil dressing and chopped pink tinged pistachios for colour is served on a bed of peas and tomatoes flavoured with mint.

If you’re a farmer’s market shopper, you may find fresh peas in the pods for the veggie element of this dish. If not, frozen peas will suffice. This makes a great garden dinner, served with a big bowl of new spuds with butter. Any leftovers are brilliant as a base for a salad the next day.

Mix the leftover shredded chicken and veg with cooked new potatoes for a quick lunch or as an easily transportable picnic dish if you’re planning a trip out and about.

SUMMER CHICKEN WITH PEAS

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 fresh free range chicken 

Extra virgin olive oil 

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 tbsp pistachio nuts, chopped, to decorate 

For the dressing:

Good handful basil leaves 

1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts 

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Squeeze of lemon juice 

For the peas:

350g Fresh podded or frozen peas 

8 cherry tomatoes, halved 

Generous knob of butter

 Few fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped 

Method:

  • Wipe the chicken inside out and place in a roasting tray.
  • Mix olive oil with garlic and season.
  • Cover with foil and roast in a pre-heated oven, Gas 5 375F 190C, allowing 40mins per kg plus about 20 minutes extra.
  • Remove foil about 10 minutes before end of cooking time to allow skin to crisp To test if the chicken is cooked, the thighs should wiggle loosely in the sockets and have no sign of pink juices when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer. The skin should be golden and crisp.
  • When the chicken is nearly ready, mix the dressing. Roughly chop basil and place in a jar. Add nuts, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Put a lid on the jar and shake together. Reserve.
  • Pour the dressing over the chicken and return to the oven for another five minutes. Remove and set aside to rest while you prepare the peas.
  • Place peas and tomatoes in a pan with butter, seasoning and a splash of oil. Cover with a lid and cook gently for a few minutes, till the peas and tomatoes are heated through and softened.
  • Shake the pan occasionally. Season and add mint.
  • Place the chicken on a warmed serving platter and spoon the peas and tomatoes around.
  • Scatter over chopped pistachios to serve.

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