This Creamy Chicken with Red Pesto and Olives is a wonderfully colourful dish. Red pesto made from sun dried tomatoes is a really easy way to add lots of flavour to a chicken casserole. A few tablespoons of creme fraiche stirred in at the end make the pesto sauce beautifully creamy.
This pesto chicken casserole is a particular favourite in summer when peppers and courgettes are in season. I always use black olives but you can use green olives if you prefer. This is also one of my favourite dishes to serve to friends. It can all be cooked in advance and the colours make it really attractive on the plate.
I use chicken breasts in this recipe. If you can buy your chicken breasts with the skin still on, I would recommend this. Cooking chicken breasts with the skin on helps keep the chicken moist and tender. When it comes to the wine, if you prefer you could use cooking wine which has a much lower alcohol content. The wine helps add flavour to the sauce. Alternatively, if you prefer not to use it at all, just replace with additional chicken stock.
What to serve with Pesto Chicken
I like to serve this creamy red pesto chicken casserole with new potatoes when they are in season. You can use any other potatoes such as mash or jacket potato. It also goes very well with pasta and I would use tagliatelle or linguine. It's already a beautifully colourful dish, but I do like to sprinkle fresh basil leaves over the top and serve with garden peas for extra colour.
Chicken is the most popular meat sold and the quality, sustainability and even flavour, varies alot. The best sustainable chicken you can buy is a locally sourced organic bird. If you can't manage this, try to buy locally produced free range chicken. Buying meat from local sources reduces the carbon footprint and also helps support your local economy. Free-range chickens have more room to roam and have access to the outdoors. They are bred far slower than industrially produced chickens. This means the flavour is also better.
Peppers, courgettes and new potatoes are all in season in the summer months. As always, try to buy vegetables loose without packaging. Olives as well as olive oil, can also now be bought as Fairtrade. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. For more information on what Fairtrade is all about, click here.
How to store Chicken and Pesto Casserole
You can store this Chicken and Red Pesto Casserole in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. Reheat it in the oven with a lid on for about 30 minutes at 180 °C / 350°F. When reheating a chicken casserole, you should make sure it is piping hot and the meat is heated all the way through. As with all meat dishes, you should only reheat the casserole once. You can also freeze this dish for 4 - 6 months. As the sauce contains creme fraiche, you will need to give it a good stir when it is reheated as the creme fraiche may have separated out when frozen.
Chicken with Red Pesto and Olives
- 2 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 4 chicken breasts organic, boneless 130g - 175g per person
- 750 g new potatoes organic, washed
- 1 onion organic, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper organic, de-seeded and diced
- 1 courgette organic, sliced into matchsticks
- 2 garlic cloves organic, peeled and crushed
- 100 ml white wine organic, fairtrade or cooking wine
- 200 ml chicken stock organic
- 3 tablespoon tomato puree organic
- 2 tablespoon red pesto organic
- 2 tablespoon low fat creme fraiche organic
- 150 g pitted black olives organic, fairtrade (drained weight)
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- 10 g fresh basil leaves organic, chopped
- Heat the olive oil over a high heat in a large casserole dish and brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and simmer the new potatoes for around 15 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, add the onion pepper, courgette and garlic to the frying pan and fry for around 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
- Pour in the wine and let it bubble for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, tomato puree and red pesto.
- Return the chicken breasts to the pan, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken breasts are cooked through.
- Stir in the creme fraiche and olives and season with black pepper.
- Serve with the new potatoes and basil leaves sprinkled over the top.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.