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Thyme spring chicken with broad beans and ham

message posted 23-Jun-08 10:04:34
Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 30 min

2 spring chickens/poussin

1 large garlic clove

1 tbsp olive oil

15g thyme sprigs

4 slices Parma or Serrano ham

500g frozen broad beans

Juice of half a lemon

Flourishing bunch watercress

Heat the oven to 420F/220C/gas mark 7. Boil the kettle. Using strong, sharp scissors or a sturdy sharp knife, cut out the backbone and open the bird out like a book. Cut down the breastbone to cut the bird in half. Chop the garlic and crush with a pinch of salt to make a juicy paste. Mix the paste with the olive oil. Smear the oily paste over the cut side of the birds and any that's left over the skin. Divide the thyme in four, press on to the cut side of each portion and lay out on a heavy-duty baking tray. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and drape with the ham. Lay a sheet of tinfoil loosely over the top and cook in the oven for 25 min. Discard the foil and remove the ham. Return to the top of the oven for 5 min to brown the skin. Remove from the oven, return the foil and leave to rest for at least 5 min. Meanwhile, using water from the kettle, prepare the broad beans as described above, saving about 3 tbsp cooking water. Place skinned beans, reserved water, cream and chopped ham in a small pan and simmer, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until just before you are ready to serve. Discard the thyme and serve the chicken tucked with watercress. Pour the pan juices over the top. For a supper party, use scissors to divide leg from breast, arrange on a warm platter and tuck bunches of watercress at either end. Serve the beans separately.

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