Let me begin by telling you that this is probably one of the best chicken dishes I have ever made, and one that I can absolutely guarantee I will be making again many times over. This dish has plenty of flavour, colour, texture; it's a doddle to make in a very short period of time; requires minimal preparation; and would be a great dish to make for a crowd.
So let me tell you how I happily stumbled on this one. At I Heart Cooking Clubs we continue cooking up a storm with Mark Bittman, and our theme for the week was Pantry Raid. The challenge - to use up a few of those ingredients languishing on the pantry shelf - what a happy project for me. There is always plenty to choose from on my pantry shelves - I buy pantry items like most other women buy shoes and handbags (though I have been known to indulge in a few of those as well). I go away on holiday and come back with bags full of food - I could well be the Imelda Marcos of the pantry.
But I digress, back to the challenge. This was great timing. Saturday afternoon I usually like to go to the Mediterranean Food Warehouse to stock up on a few necessities - okay so it's questionable whether or not roasted artichoke hearts and pomegranate molasses are actual "necessities", but in my world they're positively essential! So mid-week was the perfect time to check the pantry shelves to see what I needed, and what could be used up on this challenge.
My search uncovered 1/3rd of a jar of green olives - great I wanted to use those up, so I could get some of those gorgeous looking Sicilian green olives I'd noticed last week. An almost finished jar of balsamic vinegar - would be good to use that up too and get a new jar. Also noticed a small handful of walnuts - I always buy those in very small quantities and don't like to keep them hanging around too long.
So, next step, a search through some of Mark Bittman's recipes to see what I could come up with that needed green olives, balsamic vinegar and walnuts. I expected to find some kind of salad recipe, but was delighted to come across this chicken recipe that also required a few other things I was keen to use up from the fridge and freezer. In short I didn't have to got out for a single thing.
Mark's recipe called for a 3-4 pound chicken (that's 1.4-1.8kg in our language) to serve 4 people. I happened to have a 1kg bag of organic chicken pieces, which made three very generous servings - in fact probably could have fed four people with smaller appetites than us, or if you were serving this as part of a multi-course meal. I also needed some white wine - check, half bottle, opened last weekend, still in the fridge; a lemon - yes, one lemon left in the fruit bowl; and freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or tarragon - I happened to have both of those so used a combination of the two.
I also rustled up some basmati rice from the pantry to serve with it.
Sauteed Chicken With Green Olives & White Wine Recipe
Adapted from Mark Bittman's
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
1kg organic chicken pieces
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup green olives, unpitted
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or tarragon
First of all prepare the olives. Tip them out onto a board, and press each one lightly with the flat blade of a knife (or you could use the bottom of a glass or cup) until the flesh just breaks. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, turning as necessary, and seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. This will take about 10 minutes. You may have to do this in batches - take care not to overcrowd the pan at this stage.
Once you have cooked all your chicken, return all pieces to the pan, skin side up, pour the wine and balsamic vinegar around the chicken, and add the olives to the pan. Simmer vigorously until the chicken is nearly cooked through - about 10-15 minutes.
At this stage add the lemon slices to the pan and continue to cook for the final few minutes until the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken from the pan and arrange it, along with the lemon slices, on a serving platter.
Add the walnuts to the sauce, adjust the seasoning to taste, pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the fresh herbs over the top. Serve immediately.
Now I was on a roll, cooking without leaving the house. What else could I come up with? I discovered some radishes in the fridge that needed to be used up; half a preserved lemon - the last one from the batch I made last year, and its time now to make more; and half a bag of broad beans in the freezer. So the finishing touch to the meal was turning this little assortment into a Radish & Broad Bean Salad from the Ottolenghi cookbook.