Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baked Chicken with Lemons and Olives – A Party-Worthy Dish



Baked chicken with lemons and olives has become my newest go-to dish for dinner parties. I can put the entire dish together in about 10 minutes and then pop it in the oven when my guests arrive and let it cook for about an hour while we enjoy cocktails and chit-chat.

I’ve prepared this dish on several occasions and each time I learn a little something new. The chicken should marinate for a least an hour in the refrigerator, but if you leave it up to 24 hours, the dish has a lot more flavor. I’ve also learned that if you cook it in advance and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and then gently reheat it the day of your dinner party, it’s even better. If you love garlic, don’t be shy with it if you want it to sing with the sweetness of baked garlic. Feel free to substitute any fresh or dried herb for the oregano such as fresh rosemary, thyme or even basil.

The cut of the chicken you use is up to you. For a dinner party I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they make a pretty presentation.  But you could also use a whole chicken cut into pieces, or 6 thighs with bones and skin. My friend Lea Ann posted a similar recipe of braised chicken with lemons, potatoes and green olives that I know you would also like at Cooking on the Ranch.

The chicken can be served over rice or a quinoa pilaf, but, again for presentation, I like to use watercress and drizzle the sauce over the chicken.  I’ve paired the dish with wedges of red potatoes, parboiled, then sautéed in a flavorful olive oil. A few grape tomato halves bring a bit of color to the plate. Our guests have all raved over this one. I’m sure your guests and family will too.


Chicken with Lemons and Olives
Adapted slightly from The Lazy Gourmet – serves 4 

Grated zest of one lemon
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons of olive oil*
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon capers, with some of the juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano (see cook’s notes other herbs)
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat removed
½ to ¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in quarters

In a large plastic zip lock bag, combine the lemon zest and juice, wine, olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, capers, oregano, and garlic. Add the chicken and gently shake to coat. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, remove the bag of chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the chicken in a baking dish in a single layer and pour the lemon juice mixture over it. Scatter olives over and round the chicken pieces. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is browned on top and cooked through to 160 – 165 degrees.

Serve chicken over watercress and drizzle with the sauce. Red potatoes, parboiled, then sautéed in a flavorful olive oil make a nice side dish. Garnish the plate with a few grape tomato halves if you wish.

Cook’s notes:

- If the sauce is to thin, thicken with a cornstarch and water slurry.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking to allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
- If using chicken with bones, it may take a bit longer to cook. Check at 45 minutes and if not cooked through, continue to cook until it reaches 160 to 165 degrees.




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This recipe will be linked to: Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable. Please join me there for fabulous recipes and menu ideas.

* When this post was originally published, I left the olive oil off of the list of ingredients. Thanks to a friend who pointed this out to me, I have since corrected my error. My sincere apologies to all of you.

49 comments:

  1. This is so similar to the braised recipe I posted awhile back, but I'm loving your oven roasted method much better. Something about chicken/lemon/olives, such a wonderful flavor combination. Thanks for the post Sam, must make this soon.

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  2. I can see why this is a go-to recipe as it looks and sounds delicious. I especially like the flexibility of cooking it on dinner day or the day before. We got back last nite and it's always good to come home.

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  3. Chicken, lemon and garlic are just born to be together. This would make a lovely plate to serve to guests Sam.

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  4. yes, please. for now, passing this along to the baker.

    b

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  5. That looks so good! A mouthwatering combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. This looks so tasty Sam. You know I will have to try it. I like the watercress on your plate and the grape tomatoes really do make the presentation pop.

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  7. It's a beauty. Love pairing chicken with olives and always need a new chicken recipe.

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  8. Thank you for posting this delicious recipe. I have bookmarked it and shall serve it to our guests on Sunday. Thank you for helping make my decision on what to serve

    Helen xx

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  9. This recipe is right up my alley. I've pinned it to try. Beautiful photos too - I love the way the salt looks on the potatoes. Ha ha ha!! That goes under the heading "Stuff only a foodie says."

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  10. This is wonderful Sam...chicken, lemon, olives, friends...how can one beat that? Those tomatoes look so crackling fresh. I ate a whole branch of cherry tomatoes this afternoon and they were exactly that, crackling fresh!
    Ronelle

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  11. Dear Sam, chicken and lemons are a match made in heaven!! Have a very blessed week my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

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  12. Love this one, Sam. I make a similar one that's been in my hubby's family, but without the wine and olives. It's been our signature dish for company for more than 40 years. You're right about the longer marinating. Definitely makes a difference.

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  13. I could eat this for the lunch every day! Fresh, and delicious!

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  14. This sounds like a wonderful dinner party or even week-night dish, Sam! I love the presentation on the watercress too.

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  15. Gosh Sam, this sounds like Heaven on a Plate! I can't wait to try it & just cooked up a batch of chicken thighs last night. Phooey...I couldn't have done YOUR recipe!

    I've made Mari's (Once Upon A Plate) vinegar chicken & it was awesome. I bet this has a similar bite to it. We wanted to lick the plate, the sauce was so flavorful on that one. I won't link to it here but the horrid photo of it is on my blog, back in Aug. 5 of 2011. I didn't have my new camera yet & it is ugly looking but tasted fabulous.

    I'll take a pretty picture of YOUR recipe as soon as I make it.

    Thanks for sharing it & all the great info along with making it.

    Hugs,
    Rett

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  16. Ummm...that should read "I COULD have done YOUR recipe" *sigh* I wish blogger allowed us to edit our comments. :/

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  17. This sounds great and is a must try but think I want to try it with chicken breasts as I just can't get into thighs. Those potatoes look pretty great too!

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  18. Many people would think that cooking for guests requires it be done just before serving. Only good cooks know, it doesn't hurt (and often enhances) and certainly makes it easier on the cook to prepare the day before.

    And, yes, to lemons. It makes everything taste better!

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  19. Sounds wonderful. have saved to try. thanks.

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  20. I am loving every single ingredient... what a delicious dish!

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  21. Lemon, chicken, olives, ten minutes prep? Winner in my book!

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  22. Thanks for this "go to" recipe. It sounds wonderful.

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  23. Hello Sam,
    I would love to be on your dinner party list. This is a wonderful recipe and I can certainly understand why it is a great party recipe. This recipe is going in my recipe box and I can't wait to try it.

    Hope you have a fabulous week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  24. This looks fabulous, Sam!
    Hope you have a great weekend!

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  25. This chicken looks so flavorful! I bet it would be great as a buffet dish too!

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  26. Love the make-ahead element of this, Sam. And thighs have so much more flavor, I think. Really simple to put together and the flavors are wonderful.
    May I come for dinner??

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  27. Such a beautiful presentation~the potatoes look so crispy! A great dish when I am short of time~thanks so much!

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  28. This sounds excellent, Sam! Lemon, oregano and olives combined with chicken must taste divine! Thanks for sharing :)

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  29. Hey love the great plate of chicken and veggies. It would make an awesome weekday dinner with those crispy potatoes and fresh tomatoes

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  30. Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum. Perfect for a summer night in California.

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  31. Sounds perfect for the little dinner party I'm doing next week! Thanks, Sam!

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  32. With the capers and lemon it's kind of like a baked chicken picatta, but with more. I am going to try this for a fire roasted chicken, sounds wonderful.

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  33. Sam, this sounds amazing. How about with breasts? We are not dark meat fans?XO, Mona

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  34. looks great and love the way its plated

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  35. This looks delicious, Sam. I like recipes that aren't too fussy that allow me to be with my guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen for hours.

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  36. I made this dish for dinner last night. Oh my goodness it was good. Thanks again for this recipe I will use time and again.

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  37. Such delicious flavors - they make my tastebuds sing!
    mary x

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  38. i love the olives on the chicken! Perfect pairing. This looks like one incredibly satisfying meal!

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  39. Sam! dear friend, thank you for an easy company worthy dish. When I read that it could also be made the day ahead... perfection! I love all of the ingredients too!.
    I might serve this with a little pasta in a lemon sauce!
    Just awesome!!!!!

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  40. Now that is a recipe worth printing! Sam, looks delicious and I thank you... company coming next week. What shall I fix? Sam's chicken of course. ;)

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  41. It has been a crazy time around here; but I am so happy I didn't miss this recipe. Looks fantastic and so tasty good.
    Rita

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  42. I like this recipe even better that can be cooked in advance...sounds and looks very flavorful.
    Hope you are having a great week Sam :)

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  43. I'll be right there! What a great recipe this is and how wonderful to have one that allows you to enjoy your guests while the oven does the work... Plus, it is gorgeous!

    Just printed out to try...

    Bises,
    Genie

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  44. I love this recipe, going to make it this weekend... what a great combo, and easy!

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  45. So healthy and simple. Lots of bright flavor. Please share this on my foodie friday linky today.

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  46. I just went back to read your post and realized you mentioned me ... a DUH, please ignore my first comment and thanks for the shout out! :) I had a hard drive crash last week and have been reading some blogs on my small screen I-phone! I'm back in business now! Thanks Sam.

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  47. Your baked chicken looks truly mouth watering and pairing it with those potatoes make it even tastier.
    Kristy

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Sam