Olives are not only good for making olive oil. Braising them with chicken, lemon juice and wine releases their buttery essence and their salt tenderizes the chicken as it simmers. This recipe pairs two: the salty black Kalamata and the meaty green Castelvetrano. The combination is luscious and easy to prepare.
Chicken with Olives, Lemon and Sage Recipe
3 1/2 – 4 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs), patted dry
1 large onion, diced
7 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 T olive oil (more may be necessary, depending on cooking temperature)
8 large sage leaves, sliced in chiffonade, plus several left whole for garnish
salt and pepper
Lightly salt and pepper chicken pieces.
In large, heavy skillet, warm 3 T butter and olive oil until froth from butter subsides. Brown chicken on both sides until skin is deeply colored. Remove chicken to clean bowl.
Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until it releases its essence.
If skillet is dry, add 2 T more olive oil. Add onions to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden but not crisped.
Add chicken stock, wine and olives to skillet and bring to boil. Return chicken pieces to skillet, along with juices collected in bowl. Lower heat, add sliced sage strips and simmer covered for 50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and pulls away from the bones.
Swirl in remaining tablespoon butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chicken in warmed, shallow bowls. Soak up the buttery sauce with mini pasta shells, rice, mashed potatoes or couscous nestled up to the chicken. Garnish with remaining sage leaves.
Wine guru Stephanie Davis was literally just off the plane from a trip to Italy when I caught up with her to get a wine pairing for this dish. Even though she still had stars in her eyes when she talked about the Umbrian region, she recovered enough to recall swirling a glass of Cantina Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Bianco. A white wine blend of Grechetto, Trebbiano and Chardonnay, this elegantly complex, full-figured wine compliments the buttery olives and lemon accents in the dish. ($26)
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
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