Chicken Casserole with Olives and Lemon (4)

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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)

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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.