Chicken Casserole with Olives and Lemon (4)

IMG_0281 1

Sitting outside an off-the-beaten-track restaurant in a French village, a dish similar to this went past me to another table and when I ordered it there was none left. It has haunted me ever since. This tastes like I imagine my Poulet aux Olives would have tasted and has a lovely, deep flavored sauce due to using only the dark meat of the chicken which I seared before placing it in the casserole dish. I also de-glazed the frying pan with a little broth and scraped off all the bits stuck to the bottom and poured them on to the chicken. I added slices of lemon in addition to a mixture of green and black olives. When you serve the dish the lemon slices are more than garnish. You can eat them skin and all and they have a much softer taste than raw lemon. Mashed potatoes are a good accompaniment to mop up all the delicious juices.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks

1 onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 1/2 cups chicken broth + a little extra for de-glazing frying pan

1 lemon – sliced

16 pitted olives – 8 green, 8 black

1 tbsp. parsley – chopped

Place 1 tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and the other tbsp. of olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish. When oil is sizzling place chicken pieces in frying pan and the onion in the casserole dish.

Brown the chicken on all sides and let the onion soften and brown a little before adding the garlic.

When the chicken is nicely seared transfer it and the juices to the casserole dish, then add a little chicken broth to the frying pan to de-glaze and remove any bits stuck to the bottom. Pour over the chicken.

Add the other 1 1/2 cups of broth to the chicken along with the lemon slices and olives.

Bring to a boil then simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.



Poulet aux Olives Verts (4)

photo - poulet aux olives

Vacationing in France one year I was all set to order the special of the day, Poulet aux Olives Verts (Chicken with Green Olives) and had even glimpsed it going by my table to a lucky customer. When it came to me ordering it was all sold out and I haven’t seen anything comparable since. I just had to recreate it and used chicken thighs (bone in and skin on) and green olives. Chicken thighs have a deeper flavor and I seared the skin until it was well-browned before putting it in the casserole dish. Get the best good chicken broth you can as it does make a difference. Serve with mashed potatoes or a baked potato to soak  up the sauce and as a vegetable French green beans are good – they are finer.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with freshly ground black pepper

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped or grated

4 chicken thighs

4 oz. green olives without pits/pips – halved (I used big green olives)

1 cup chicken broth/stock

Heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and let soften for a couple of minutes then add the garlic.

Cook for a further few minutes until onion starts to go brown.

Remove onions and garlic from casserole dish and set aside on a plate.

Place chicken thighs in casserole dish and sear on both sides making sure the skin is nicely browned.

Add olives and broth, bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.




Roasted Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Topping (serves 4)

Roasted Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Topping (serves 4)

Was having lunch with a friend and I ordered Cauliflower ‘Steak’ with other veg and quinoa. When it came, my friend, said ‘Why have I never cooked it that way – usually I cut it into florets?’ Me, the same. So, off I went to get a cauliflower, slice it, roast it and them come up with a tasty idea meantime to make the cauliflower into a meal/side dish. I thought olive tapenade would give it a good flavor and then how about adding some sun-dried tomatoes mixed with Harissa paste? It is deeelicious! Bonus – there will be enough cauliflower and tapenade left over for hors d’oeuvres. My tapenade recipe is listed in this blog.

1 x large cauliflower – trimmed and cut into slices
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in oil cut into small pieces + 1/2 tbsp. harissa paste – mixed together

Drizzle cauliflower with seasoned oil and roast for 20 – 30 mins. depending on size of cauliflower.
Let cool.
Spread each ‘steak’ with a layer of tapenade and top with the tomato harissa paste mixture.

Olive and Orange Salad (serves 4)

Olive and Orange Salad (serves 4)

You might not think this combo is something you would like. I was wary myself. I tasted it in a restaurant and it accompanied fish and braised fennel. So a real mish mash of hot and cold – but it worked really well.
This recipe is different because I added red onion. Can’t remember what kind of lettuce was used but I used arugula/rocket because of its stronger taste. The black olives came packed in oil and some herbs (I drained the oil) and they are tastier that those that come in brine in a can. I segmented the oranges and chopped them into pieces.
You don’t actually need a dressing on this salad as you have juice from the oranges and some oil from the olives.
Think this would be a hit at a party where everyone contributes a dish.

A 2 or 3 handfuls of arugula
2 oranges – cut into segments and then segments chopped
Handful of black olives – with stones removed, then halved
1 tbsp. finely chopped red onion

Mix all together and serve salad.

Tomato Salad (serves 4)

Tomato Salad (serves 4)

Sometimes simple is best – ripe tomatoes, red onion and olives with a balsamic dressing. However there is a twist that you can do or omit – roasted cherry tomatoes. They do add a depth of flavor, though. My balsamic dressing is delicious thanks to the olive oil stand at my local farmer’s market. His olive oil goes from tree to bottle in 24 hours and his balsamic vinegar is 12 years old – you can really taste the difference and he advised a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. I took black pitted olives from the deli counter and put them in the food processor (taste better than canned olives). Can be an appetizer in the way tomatoes and mozzarella are, or can be a salad.

2 large, ripe tomatoes – sliced
1 or 2 slices of red onion – finely chopped
Handful of black, pitted olives – processed in food processor
Handful of cherry tomatoes – roasted

Arranged slices of tomatoes around a plate.
Place roasted tomatoes on top of each slice of fresh tomato and smush them down.
Sprinkle with red onion and processed olives.
Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

Quinoa Salad with Chicken and More (serves 4)

recipe photo 22Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Chickpeas and More (serves 4)

I am taking this with me on the plane as I have to be really careful with airline food to avoid mid-air disaster! I mixed quinoa with slices of chicken tenders and then added chopped red onion, black and green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro and a can of chickpeas – lots of different flavors and textures. Then I mixed in a lemon garlic vinaigrette. Leave out the chicken and you have a very nice vegetarian/vegan salad.

6 x chicken tenders – cooked and sliced
2 cups boiling water
1 cup quinoa
1 can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
1/2 a small red onion – chopped
2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in oil – roughly chopped
2 tbsp. black and green olives – pitted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Cook chicken tenders and slice when cool.
Cook quinoa in boiling water until all water is absorbed.
When quinoa and chicken are cooled add red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and cilantro.
In a jar mix lemon juice, garlic and olive oil and give jar a good shake to emulsify the dressing.
Pour over salad and serve.

Green and Yellow Waxed Beans Tossed with Olive ‘Pesto’ (serves 4)

recipe photo 14Green and Yellow Waxed Beans Tossed with Olives (serves 4)

For a long time yellow waxed beans were hard to find but now they are frequently available at my local supermarket (Publix). They taste the same as green beans – it is the color combination that I like. I made a quick olive ‘pesto’ – black olives, garlic and olive oil – and tossed the beans in the sauce. Good hot or cold. Goes well with lamb.

8 oz. thin green beans – topped and tailed
8 oz. yellow waxed beans – topped and tailed
1/2 cup of pitted black olives
2 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Cook beans until just tender.
Put olives, garlic and olive oil in food processor and blend.
Toss beans and olive mixture.