Originally featured as our recipe of the month way back in January, 2004, famed Chef Giuliano Hazan wrote at the time: “This is probably the first recipe of mine which was published. It first appeared in my mother’s third book, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, in which she tells of how on one of my visits home I volunteered to cook and after poking around my parents’ refrigerator and cupboards came up with this chicken dish. I confess that my memory of the first time I made it is rather vague but I have been preparing it often over the years to rave reviews during which time I have made some adjustments to the recipe. The following is my current version.”
Chicken with Green Olives (Pollo alle Olive Verdi)
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cook method: Braise
- an assortment of chicken legs, thighs and wings weighing about 3 pounds
- 8 ounces green olives, preferably Sicilian, julienned by cutting the flesh away from the pit
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Put half the olives and the anchovy fillets in a food processor and chop very finely (add 1-2 TBSP of white wine if necessary to get it to process).
2. Choose a lidded sauté pan or skillet large enough to accommodate all the chicken in a single layer. Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves in the pan and place over medium high heat. Sauté until the garlic becomes golden brown then remove the cloves and discard them.
3. Raise the heat to high and pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and place them in the pan with the skin side down. Sear the chicken so that some color appears on all sides, then transfer it to a platter and season it with salt and pepper.
4. Pour off most of the fat from the pan then add the wine and vinegar and let it bubble away until it has reduced by almost half while loosening the tasty bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the anchovy/olive dressing. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, turning them in the sauce. Lower the heat to medium low and cover the pan with the lid slightly askew. Cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until it is very tender when pricked with a fork, about 25-30 minutes. If all the liquid in the pan evaporates before the chicken is done add a little water.
5. When the chicken is done uncover the pan and, if the sauce is too thin and watery, raise the heat to let it reduce. With the heat on medium low, add the lemon juice, olive pieces and parsley and cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and serve hot.
Note: The chicken may be prepared up to a day ahead of time. When you are ready to serve it, reheat it over gentle heat, adding the olive pieces, parsley and lemon juice and a little water if necessary.
By Peg Kern
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