Spring chicken + wild garlic pesto

I’ve had my eye on the copious amounts of bright green freshly sprouting wild garlic for a week or so now, so I seized the opportunity today to forage some for dinner tonight. Paring it with basil, parmesan, and lemon makes a wonderfully fragrant pesto, the perfect partner for chicken.

Here I’ve used chicken legs that were a bargain, but this would work beautifully with a full bird (think wild garlic butter under the breast skin) or thighs and for a low fat version,  fillets. I personally would recommend chicken on the bone to make sure you get the umami packed juices. Perfect for mothers day, enjoy x

Serves 4-6


6 large chicken legs

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 leek, trimmed and sliced

500ml chicken stock (made with 2 stock cubes)

300ml white wine

1 tbsp plain flour

3 tbsp reduced fat crème fraiche

100g frozen peas

100g spinach

bunch of asparagus

juice of half a lemon


olive oil

for the pesto

25g basil

25g wild garlic (or double the basil if you cant source it)

25g grated parmesan

juice of half a lemon

zest of half a lemon

2 tbsp olive oil




Heat the oven to 200oC.

Trim the chicken legs and season well. Heat a frying pan on a high heat with a little olive oil and brown the legs on both sides. Set the chicken aside.

In a large shallow oven/hob proof casserole dish saute the leeks and onions in a little olive oil on a low-medium heat for 5 or so mins until tender. Add a heaped tbsp of plain flour, and cook off for a minute, then add the wine, stirring well. Bubble for a few mins then add the stock. Return the chicken to the pan and pop the lid on a roast for about an hour.

Make the pesto by blitzing the pesto ingredients. Set aside.

After an hour, remove the lid and roast for a further 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Remove from oven, and remove the chicken carefully and place on a plate. Stir in a little cornflour mixed with milk, a couple of tablespoons of the pesto, crème fraiche and the spinach. Pop the chicken back on top and scatter over the asparagus. Squeeze the remaining half a lemon juice all over and season. Return to the oven for 10 mins.

In the meantime, steam or boil thefrozen peas.

Remove the chicken from the oven and top the chicken with blobs of pesto, and sprinkle over the peas. Serve!

We enjoyed this with hasselback potatoes, steamed carrots, cauli cheese and yorkies ! yum!









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