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Chicken & Peas with Mint Pesto

Early Summer 2020
F202003014.jpg
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Local peas and mint show up at about the same time and they taste great together too. Peas toughen up when cooked in salted liquid, so it’s best to steam them (or boil in plain water) before adding to the stock. Depending on their size this can take between two and four minutes. If you prefer, frozen peas can be added directly to the stock once reduced—they only need to warm through before serving.

 

⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp (80 plus 15 mL) olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, divided
½ cup (125 mL) raw, unsalted pistachios
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped basil leaves
1 cup (250 mL) roughly chopped mint leaves
⅓ cup (80 mL) finely grated Parmesan
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, divided
Salt
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 oz (225 g) each
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 cups (500 mL) good-quality chicken stock
1 ½ cups (375 mL) cooked fresh peas, or frozen (see above)

1 Heat ⅓ cup (80 mL) olive oil in a small pot over low heat. Add 4 cloves garlic and cook until golden all over, turning cloves from time to time, 8 to 10 minutes total. Set pot aside and cool to room temperature. Remove cooked garlic cloves and set both oil and garlic aside separately.

2 Add remaining raw clove of garlic, pistachios, basil, mint, Parmesan and lemon zest to a food processor. Pulse to finely chop. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, then the reserved garlic-scented oil through the feed tube with the motor Season to taste with salt and set aside.

3 Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

4 Working with one at a time, lay chicken breasts smooth-side up on a cutting board and cut a slit lengthwise in the centre of the breast to create a pocket parallel to the board, being careful to not cut all the way Divide the mint pesto between the 4 pockets. Thread a toothpick in each to secure filling in pocket and season each breast with salt and pepper.

5 Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil and the butter in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat. Fry 4 minutes per side. Slip pan into oven and cook 10 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted into the cavity registers 165°F (74°C).

6 Meanwhile, combine chicken stock and reserved garlic cloves in a small po Bring to a boil and reduce by ½ cup (125 mL). Stir in peas and remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice. Divide between 4 bowls. Remove picks and nestle a breast into each bowl.

Serves 4

What to Serve

LCBO#:647149
$19.95  
F202003014.jpg
food and drink

Chicken & Peas with Mint Pesto

Early Summer 2020

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Local peas and mint show up at about the same time and they taste great together too. Peas toughen up when cooked in salted liquid, so it’s best to steam them (or boil in plain water) before adding to the stock. Depending on their size this can take between two and four minutes. If you prefer, frozen peas can be added directly to the stock once reduced—they only need to warm through before serving.

 

⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp (80 plus 15 mL) olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, divided
½ cup (125 mL) raw, unsalted pistachios
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped basil leaves
1 cup (250 mL) roughly chopped mint leaves
⅓ cup (80 mL) finely grated Parmesan
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, divided
Salt
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 oz (225 g) each
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 cups (500 mL) good-quality chicken stock
1 ½ cups (375 mL) cooked fresh peas, or frozen (see above)

1 Heat ⅓ cup (80 mL) olive oil in a small pot over low heat. Add 4 cloves garlic and cook until golden all over, turning cloves from time to time, 8 to 10 minutes total. Set pot aside and cool to room temperature. Remove cooked garlic cloves and set both oil and garlic aside separately.

2 Add remaining raw clove of garlic, pistachios, basil, mint, Parmesan and lemon zest to a food processor. Pulse to finely chop. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, then the reserved garlic-scented oil through the feed tube with the motor Season to taste with salt and set aside.

3 Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

4 Working with one at a time, lay chicken breasts smooth-side up on a cutting board and cut a slit lengthwise in the centre of the breast to create a pocket parallel to the board, being careful to not cut all the way Divide the mint pesto between the 4 pockets. Thread a toothpick in each to secure filling in pocket and season each breast with salt and pepper.

5 Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil and the butter in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat. Fry 4 minutes per side. Slip pan into oven and cook 10 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted into the cavity registers 165°F (74°C).

6 Meanwhile, combine chicken stock and reserved garlic cloves in a small po Bring to a boil and reduce by ½ cup (125 mL). Stir in peas and remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice. Divide between 4 bowls. Remove picks and nestle a breast into each bowl.

Serves 4

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