Pollo al limone e zafferano (chicken breasts with lemon and saffron)

Serves 4
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4 chicken breasts, with skin left on
salt and pepper
120ml exrta virgin olive oil
4 large shallots, cut into quarters
2 carrots, finely chopped
150g fresh peas (shelled weight, use frozen peas when fresh are not in season)
1 sachet of ground saffron or a few strands, soaked in 5 tablehpoons of warm water

for the marinade

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 3 lemons and grated zest of 1 of the lemons, to serve
glass of white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 small red chili, finely chopped
2 bay heaved, roughly torn

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rubbing in well. Place in a dish together with the marinade ingredients. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate, turning the chicken breasts over from time to time.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4.

In an overproof dish large enough to hold the 4 chicken breasts, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil, add the shallots, carrots and peas and sweat on a low heat until softened. Remove the vegetables and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the dish, add the chicken breasts and seal on both sides over a highish heat. Remove from the heat and add the vegetables, then strain the marinade over.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce reduced by half. About 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, pour in the saffron and its soaking liquid.

Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with the sauce and vegetables, and some freshly grated lemon zest sprinkled over the top.

Taken from 'Gennaro's Italian Year' (Headline £16.99)

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