Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives Recipe

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Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives

Use any olives with pits that you like; the Italian Castelvetrano bright green olives are sweeter than most olives, with a meaty bite. Chicken breast, legs, and/or wings will also work here, but white meat won’t be as succulent. This recipe is based on David Tanis’ in The New York Times.

Serves: 3 to 4


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6-8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small lemons (Meyer lemons also work well), cut in wedges
1 cup olives with pits, ideally large green olives such as Castelvetrano
1 cup chicken stock
Chopped parsley, for finishing


Heat the oven to 375°F. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium high heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper.

Place the thighs skin side down in the hot pan and cook, without disturbing, until the thighs lift easily from the pan and the skin is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and sear for another few minutes, until golden. Take care not to burn the skin or the oil by adjusting the heat down a bit.

Seared Chicken Thighs

Remove the thighs to a plate and pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat. Return the pan to medium heat and deglaze it by pouring the chicken stock in and scraping up any browned bits as the stock comes to a boil.

Return the thighs to the pan skin side up. Season with the red pepper flakes and fennel seeds, then smear with the garlic. Arrange the lemon wedges and olives around the chicken, squeeze a couple of the wedges over the chicken and into the drippings.

Cover the skillet with foil or top and place on the center rack in the hot oven. Bake for about one hour, or until chicken is very tender and juices run clear.

Arrange the chicken, olives, and lemon wedges on a platter and tent with foil. Return the skillet to medium heat and spoon off as much fat as possible. Bring the pan juices to a boil and reduce for about a minute. Pour over the chicken, dust with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

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