Herby lemon chicken with Tuscan beans

Herby lemon chicken with Tuscan beans

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 1 hr, 10 mins

More effort

Serves 4 - 6
Try this summer alternative to a traditional Sunday roast, best enjoyed al fresco

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal648
  • fat35g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre6g
  • protein64g
  • salt3.67g
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  • 1 large chicken, between 1½ kg-2kg/3lb 5oz - 4lb 8oz, depending on how many you're feeding



    Chicken's many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it…

  • zest and juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • thyme sprigs, some leaves stripped, some sprigs just pulled into pieces


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

For the beans

  • 140g pack cubetti di pancetta



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 4 celery sticks, very finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 fat garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 x 400g cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 thyme sprig


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • small glass white wine (about 125-150ml)
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. First, spatchcock the chicken (see our step-by-step video here). Sit the chicken on a board, breast-side down with the wing-end away from you. Use a strong pair of kitchen scissors to cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the ribs as you go. Open out the chicken like a book, flip so it is now breast- side up, then press down on the breasts with the heel of your hand to flatten slightly – you are trying to get an even thickness across the whole joint. If you have any long skewers, diagonally criss-cross two, skewering through the legs and breast to hold in position. Sit the chicken in a dish or roasting tin. Mix the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and thyme with some pepper, rub all over the chicken, then cover and chill for up to a day.

  2. Get the beans ready by gently frying the pancetta in a pan – you shouldn’t need any extra oil if you start it slowly. When the pancetta is golden and crisp, lift it out with a slotted spoon, then add the celery and garlic to the remaining fat in the pan. Gently cook for 10-12 mins until soft. Scrape into a medium-size deep roasting tin or baking dish with the pancetta, butter beans, thyme, wine, stock and plenty of seasoning. Set aside until ready to cook.

  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Transfer the chicken to a rack, breastside up, that will rest above the beans (sit the beans on a large baking sheet if the chicken overhangs at all, to keep your oven clean). Season the chicken with salt and roast for 40-50 mins until the chicken is cooked through – cut into one of the legs to check. Lift the chicken out to rest for 10 mins. If the beans are a bit soupy, transfer to the hob and simmer for a minute to reduce some of the juices – they should still be nice and wet though.

  4. To serve, cut the legs, thighs and wings from the chicken, then thickly carve or tear off the breast in chunks. Check the beans for seasoning, then stir through the parsley and serve with the chicken.

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Comments (23)

Emmasankey's picture

I make this recipe time after time - stunning

uglynn's picture

I prepared it with chicken breast cut into piecies and cooked in a pan.
Though it is not fine cuisine it made a good meal and the butter beans were good. I served it with french beans.

peaches_xuk's picture

Five stars - made exactly as recipe and was gorgeous. Everyone loved it and I was surprised how easy it was to spatchcock the chicken. Served with savoy cabbage with mustard and cream.

hbrog's picture

that was supposed to be five stars - website not working!

hbrog's picture

Yum! My husband hates celery so I substituted for a finely sliced onion, and also added cubed chorizo to the beans as well as pancetta, which was delicious. Have made this over and over.

mrsskellers's picture

This is lovely. I used cannellini beans as I don't like butter beans. We cooked our chicken on the barbecue and it turned out really nice, so much so that my husband invited his parents over 2 days later and asked me to prepare the chicken for him to barbecue again. Will definitely make again.

csteel1's picture

Delicious but I would say the chicken doesn't cook as quickly as the recipe says.

csteel1's picture

The smells from the kitchen were topped only by the taste! Took a lot longer to cook than the times suggested but worth the wait.

karinles's picture

Made according to recipe, served with a green bean salad. Easy, very tasty, no last minute faffing about and minimal washing up. Everyone enjoyed it and will definitely make again

fificooks's picture

Thank-you bbcgoodfood for the video link to 'How to spatchcock a chicken'- Really useful.

sabrina74's picture

oh how i loved the beans!!! im going to use them in a starter either like a brushetta or in an gem lettuce leaf.. liked the chicken, very moist, allowed mine to soak all day in the lemon and thyme.. served with crunchy mixed salad. jacket or new potatoes.

ymthomas's picture

This made a fab Sunday lunch. I added 2 diced carrots to the celery when doing the beans and this added a nice bit of added colour and sweetness to the dish. The beans were especially nice. We had pea and broad bean and cherry tomato bruschetta to start.

eleanormayo's picture

This was fantastic, I could not be bothered to spatchcock my chicken so just rubbed the lemon, olive oil and thyme into the chicken and put the squeezed lemon halves into the chicken cavity. I then roasted the whole chicken over the beans as per the rest of the recipe and it was de-lish-ous!!

debbiedooda's picture

I added carrot and red pepper to the beans (cannelini, which is what I had in the cupboard) and that worked well. I left out the pancetta, but cooked the chicken with some streaky bacon over it, then crumbled the bacon into the beans. Next time I'm thinking of putting some breadcrumbs over the beans at the end while the chicken is resting - a bit like a cassoulet.

emsteel's picture

I love this recipe. It is now a regular in our household! Normally serve it with a peppery green salad and roast tomatoes.

wendyblue's picture

really easy and very tasty - even my husband agreed and he normally won't eat anything with beans in it! i also added small tomatoes, like "Jezebel" and left out the wine (just increased the amount of stock).

mammasmith's picture

Really good chicken recipe. Used chorizo in place of pancetta, otherwise made according to recipe. Will definitely make again, well worth spatchcocking the chicken.

ramses2's picture

Excellent meal. The video was so helpful for spatchcocking the chicken. I changed the butter beans for red kidney beans for someone who can't eat butter beans and it was just as good.

chez-ray's picture

I made this meal for a summer birthday party for 20 guests. The meal was a total success. It was extremely easy to prepare and the food was excellent, tasty and the left over chicken and beans were server the next day cold with a salad.


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