Chicken and Pea Traybake

To promote her new book, Nigella Lawson travelled through Canada and the U.S. during April, doing book signings and interviews and podcasts. My adoration is such that I have listened to or watched any of these that I could find to glean more information on how her books come into being and her philosophy on food (and other stuff too).

This recipe got mentioned a lot during that media blitz, so I felt I had to try it out. Plus, I love these all-in-one recipes where all the ingredients are loaded onto a pan to cook. Nigella is all about frozen peas as an ingredient. In this recipe, the vapour produced by the frozen peas keeps the chicken from drying out.

This is what happens.

Get some garlic…

Garlic, pre-mincing.

…and mince it.

Garlic, post-mincing.

Grab the leeks…

Leeks, pre-slicing.

…and slice them.

Leeks, post-slicing.

Pour the peas and those sliced leeks onto the baking sheet.

Peas and leeks.

Add the minced garlic then pour the Vermouth over. Add dried dill and toss that with your hands. Run your hands under warm water to defrost them.

Pour the vermouth over (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Add the chicken thighs (and today, legs too) to the pan. Pour oil over the chicken, add some salt and get roasting.

Chicken added, ready for the oven.

After 45 minutes, give the pan a stir to be sure that the peas are covered in liquid. Continue to bake for 30 more minutes.

Chicken and Pea Traybake.

Chicken and Pea Traybake, served.

Chicken and Pea Traybake, served.

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken and Pea Traybake

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

This is the essence of easy home cooking for me. Everything goes into the roasting pan together — yes, even frozen peas, unthawed — and what emerges is a comforting dish with an elegant flavour that is sure to become a favourite.

Swap option: You can replace the dry white vermouth with dry white wine or some light chicken stock.


7 cups frozen baby peas (about 2 pounds)
4 to 5 leeks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 small bunch dill, torn into pieces
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Spread the frozen peas into a large roasting pan, followed by the leeks, garlic, vermouth, olive oil, salt and most of the dill. Turn everything together in the pan, breaking up any large clumps of the frozen peas, until well mixed (I advise you to wear rubber gloves for this, just to stop you freezing your fingers, though you still will feel the cold). Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top, then drizzle them with a little olive oil and give them a good sprinkling of salt.

3. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the peas a small stir or tamp down, so that the few that are sitting on the surface and drying out a little are submerged in the liquid. Don’t do the same to the leeks, however, as the bits that are peeking out will become desirably caramelized in the heat. Put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, by which time the peas and leeks will be soft, and the chicken tender and cooked through, its skin golden and crisp.

4. Tear off the remaining dill fronds, and scatter over the top before serving.


2 thoughts on “Chicken and Pea Traybake

  1. This recipe is really cool—-I never thought about the vapor from the peas making the chicken not dry out. Frozen peas are an essential in my freezer! So versatile.

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