Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon

Olives and I haven’t always gotten along. They were definitely an acquired taste. I’m pretty sure it was the saltiness that deterred me all those year. Ironically that’s what I’ve come to love about olives these days.

I’m not exactly what triggered my change of heart, or even when it happened. And it started slowly. I gave olives a second chance. And, I actually kinda liked them….or at least I didn’t hate them. I started liking them more and more, and eventually I started seeking them out.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon

And then, they came to me. Literally. A couple weeks ago Olives from Spain got in touch and asked me to join them at Spain’s Great Match, for an evening of Spanish wine, Spanish cheese, bites from some of New York’s best Spanish restaurants, and the real selling point, all the Spanish olives I could fit in my belly. I’m pretty sure this was fate rewarding me.

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Spain’s Great Match was a delicious gathering of wine makers, food producers and restaurateurs to celebrate and pair together some of the great things Spain has to offer. Olives from Spain was in the midst of the action with Cooking Channel host and culinary expert Annie Sibonney.

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One of the highlights of chatting with Annie was finding inspiration for cooking with olives. I love snacking on olives before dinner, and they’re always a must when I’m out for tapas, but I don’t cook with them nearly enough. And by “nearly enough”, what I mean is basically never. Just that one time when I made halibut with tapenade.

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My inspiration lead me straight to Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon. It’s a mixture of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Flavors, with super tender pieces of chicken.

This dish uses my favorite cut of chicken – the thighs. Chicken thighs, in my opinion, are a totally underrated cut of meat. While I do live skin-on chicken thighs, this dish works best with a skinless pieces of meat. With thighs, you’re guaranteed meat that’s super flavorful, versatile and really inexpensive.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon

There are a lot of ways to cook chicken thighs. And, because they’re not as lean as chicken breast, braising is always a really great option. The meat in this dish comes out moist, super tender and it practically falls off the bones. Then there’s the cooking liquid. So.much.flavor. As great as the chicken is, the sauce might just be what makes this dinner. It’s a combination of brininess from the olives, warmth and spice from the cinnamon and saffron, and a little acidity from some white wine to balance it out.

I recommend keeping this meal simple and serving the chicken with a side of couscous and greens.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Lemon

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 6 medium skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of saffron
  • 4 1-inch strips of lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup green Spanish olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs, working in batches if necessary, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until the other side is browned, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, stir to coat with the oil and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a minute more. Pour in the wine, and stir to release the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is almost all the way reduced. Stir in the thyme, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, saffron, lemon peel, lemon juice, chicken stock and olives. Bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan, then transfer to the oven. Cook for 50-55 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Divide the meat between plates, top with sauce from the pan and fresh chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

http://thecornerkitchenblog.com/braised-chicken-thighs-olives-lemon/

To learn more about olives and to get more delicious recipes follow the Olives from Spain on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.

Enjoy!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Olives from Spain. I received complimentary entry to the event and was compensated for recipe development. I work with brands that I enjoy and use, and, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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