• 1 small crown Chicken (preferably free-range or organic)

  • 50 g softened Butter

  • 1 small bunch fresh Thyme

  • 75 g smoked bacon lardons

  • 410 g cannellini beans drained and rinsed

  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 1/4 Red Onions finely diced

  • 1/2 red peppers deseeded and cut into roughly 1cm dice

  • 1/2 green peppercorns deseeded and cut into roughly 1cm dice

  • 1 Clove Garlic

  • 1/2 Red chilli's deseeded and finely diced

  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh Coriander

  • 2 spring onions trimmed and diagonally sliced

  • 150 ml fresh chicken stock

  • 4 tablespoons semi-skimmed Milk

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

  • fine Sea Salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

  • 2.

    Place the chicken in a roasting tin, season with salt and pepper.

  • 3.

    Spread the breast with half the butter and place a few thyme sprigs in the body cavity, reserving a couple of sprigs for garnish.

  • 4.

    Roast for 20 minutes.

  • 5.

    Remove from the oven and baste with the pan juices half way through cooking.

  • 6.

    Warm a small frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the bacon for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

  • 7.

    Stir in roughly half the beans, heat through gently and tip into a large bowl.

  • 8.

    Reserve the remaining beans for the sauce.

  • 9.

    Meanwhile, in a second pan, heat about 2 tsp oil and fry the onion for about a minute.

  • 10.

    Deglaze with vinegar. Heat about 2 tsp more oil in another pan and fry the red and green pepper for about a minute.

  • 11.

    Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a few seconds.

  • 12.

    Deglaze with vinegar and remove from the heat.

  • 13.

    Season all the vegetables and add to the bacon and beans.

  • 14.

    Add the shredded coriander and the spring onions.

  • 15.

    Toss together lightly.

  • 16.

    Taste and add a little extra vinegar or seasoning if necessary.

  • 17.

    Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a board.

  • 18.

    Using a sharp knife, carefully take the breasts off the bone – they should still be pink underneath.

  • 19.

    Heat a small frying pan on the hob and add the butter.

  • 20.

    Place the chicken breasts, skin-side up, in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly cooked – there should be no sign of any pink meat.

  • 21.

    Remove from the heat and set aside for a few minutes.

  • 22.

    Tip the reserved beans into a jug and add the chicken stock and milk.

  • 23.

    Use a stick blender to blend until smooth.

  • 24.

    Season well.

  • 25.

    Pour into a small saucepan and heat through gently, stirring occasionally.

  • 26.

    Spoon the vegetables and beans onto two warmed plates.

  • 27.

    Cut each chicken breast diagonally in half.

  • 28.

    Place on top of the vegetables.

  • 29.

    Spoon over the white bean sauce.

  • 30.

    Garnish with fresh thyme and serve.


1.Ask your butcher to make the chicken crown if you like. Alternatively, remove the legs, wings and breast bone from a whole chicken yourself. Use to make a casserole or roast and serve cold with a salad.
2.Buy bacon lardons from the supermarket or butcher, or make yourself from a piece of smoked streaky bacon cut into 5mm slices. Keep in the freezer and it will keep longer and be easier to cut.
3.Basting with the pan juices will help keep the chicken moist.
4.In order to retain control of cooking, chefs will often part-roast chicken, then take it off the bone and finish the cooking process by pan-frying. This way, there is less chance that the chicken will be over-cooked.
5.If you are unsure whether you chicken is cooked, you can always test its internal temperature through the thickest part of the meat. Electronic thermometers are available from good cookware stockists and catering suppliers.
6.Use canned butter beans or haricot beans for this recipe if you like.
7.Fresh chicken stock is available in the chiller cabinets of most major supermarkets, but you can dissolve a good quality stock cube in boiling water instead.
8.Deglazing pans with a little vinegar or wine after frying will help lift the flavour-rich cooking juices which can then be incorporated into the dish.

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