The advantage of this dish is that it is one-pot – the carbs are in the butter beans; the green beans and tomatoes are part of your 5-a-day; and the chicken provides the protein.
I was tempted to short-cut the making of the green basil sauce by substituting ready-made pesto, but I resisted – this sauce has a very fresh taste, and the added cream goes so well with the chicken.
Recipe for Chicken Fillets with Butter Beans and Basil Sauce
- 50g/2 oz/2 packets basil – it’s quite a mound
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed with one tsp smoked salt
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 8 tbsps of good quality olive oil (not the strong, bitter type) plus more for frying
- 120ml/½ cup cream
- Juice and zest of a lemon
- 250g/9 oz chicken breast fillets – four thin slices of chicken breast
- 225-250g/8-9 oz green beans
- 1 x 400g/14 oz tin butter beans
- Pinch Urfa pepper – or grinds of ordinary black pepper
- 8 baby plum tomatoes (about 100g/4 oz)
- Into a small chopper/blender put the basil leaves, the crushed garlic, the vinegar, a pinch of Urfa pepper, or a few grinds of ordinary black, and six tbsps. of the good olive oil. Whizz.
- Take out and pour into a small bowl. Add the juice and zest of half a lemon. Mix. Add the cream, mix. Keep out of the fridge at room temperature.
- Get some cooking olive oil to heat in a frying pan. Season one side of the chicken fillets, and put seasoned side down in the pan. Season the other side. After about four minutes, turn, and fry using a slightly gentler heat. At least one side of the chicken needs to acquire an attractive golden colour. Make sure the fillets are heated through (no translucent flesh) but don’t overcook or they will go dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC.
- Meanwhile, top and tail the beans and cut them into manageable lengths. Get a saucepan of boiling water going, and simmer the beans for about four minutes. Drain.
- Drain the butter beans, and cut the tomatoes in half. Put both into a shallow ovenproof dish. Add the green beans. Pour over two tablespoons of the good olive oil, and the juice and zest of the other half of the lemon. Muddle.
- Lay the chicken fillets over bed of vegetables. Pour the sauce over. Cover with foil and put in the oven to heat through for about 15 minutes…or longer – up to an hour.
- You can either serve as is, or you can slice the chicken diagonally to allow the sauce to permeate through.