Chicken from down Mexico way......

The Food Union - Mexican Chicken with Pumpkin & Pepita Pesto

Need a speedy lunch or dinner for 4 - you gotta check out this Mexican Chicken recipe. Packed with flavour - it's spicy with plenty of zing from the limes plus the salty feta.

It's really easy to prepare ahead, and you can just throw it in the oven when your guests are banging on your front door. After you've had the odd  compulsory margarita (or two), the chicken will be ready to serve with a simple green salad.

Que aproveche!

The Food Union - Mexican Chicken with Pumpkin & Pepita Pesto


Recipe by Diana Henry - A Bird in the Hand

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8 skin-on, bone-in free-range chicken legs or thighs
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
3 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground allspice
6 tbsp olive oil
Juice 1 lime
Juice ½ orange
500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into thick wedges
60g feta, finely crumbled
Lime wedges to serve

Pepita Pesto
20g pumpkin seeds
60g fresh coriander sprigs, plus extra to serve
20g unroasted cashew nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice 1½ limes
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped, plus extra to serve

Serves: 4 


Put the chicken in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Mix together the sugar, thyme, oregano, spices, 4 tbsp of the olive oil, both the citrus juices and some salt and pepper, then pour this marinade over the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces to coat well, then cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Bring back to room temperature before you cook.

To Make Pepita Pesto - Put the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan and put over a medium heat. Stir for a couple of minutes, or until they turn a shade darker and smell a little toasted. Put in a food processor with all the other pesto ingredients except the chilli. Blend to a rough purée. Scrape into a bowl, stir in the chilli and set the pesto aside until you want to use it.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C. Transfer the chicken, skin-side up, to a roasting tin or a large, shallow ovenproof dish – it should fit quite snugly. Cook for 15 mins then add the pumpkin wedges around the chicken. Brush the pumpkin with the remaining 2 tbsp oil and season. Put back into the hot oven and roast for a further 20 - 25 minutes, basting every so often until cooked.

Serve with some pesto spooned over the chicken and scatter with crumbled feta, extra coriander sprigs, chopped chilli (optional), and lime wedges.

All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2018