Nigel Slater’s chicken with butterbeans and rosemary Nigel Slater’s chicken with butterbeans and rosemary - ImagesGram

Nigel Slater’s chicken with butterbeans and rosemary

A sticky and sweet, herby and wholesome midweek treat

The recipe

Cut deep slashes through the skin of 2 large chicken legs then season them all over with salt and black pepper. Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan then brown the chicken evenly on both sides.
Lift the chicken out on to a plate, then pour in 150ml of white vermouth and let it bubble for a couple of minutes, letting any sticky, caramelised goodness from the chicken dissolve.

Return the chicken to the pan. Rinse the contents of two 400ml cans of butterbeans and tip them into the pan, pour in 350ml of chicken stock and add 4 small sprigs of rosemary. Partially cover with a lid, then leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
Check the seasoning, adding salt, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice as appropriate. Chop a handful of parsley and stir into the juices in the pan, then check the seasoning. Serves 2.

The trick

Good stock is essential here. Home-made is ideal; if not, a high-quality shop stock is fine. As the chicken leg browns in the pan, avoid moving them too often, so a good layer of sticky, caramelised meat juices adheres to the surface of the pan under the meat. Stirred in with a wooden spoon, this will enrich the stock magnificently.

The twist

A pair of pork steaks or lamb chump chops can be cooked in the same way. Brown them, and their fat nicely, then continue as above. The rosemary will be good with either meat, though there is a temptation to include 3 or 4 sage leaves with the pork. You could embellish the dish with cream at the end of cooking, about 3 tbsp would suffice.