Thursday, September 20, 2007

Provencal Chicken

'Tis the season for all things Provencal. This chicken dish is easy and tasty; and best of all, the ingredients are in the markets right now and therefore more flavourful and less expensive. You can start with a whole chicken and cut it up into parts, or cheat as I do and use just a bunch of thighs (they cook in the same amount of time and someone else does all the butchery for you).


8 Chicken Thighs, skin still on
3-4 T Olive Oil
1 med Red Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 med Red Pepper, core and seeds removed then roughly chopped
2 lg Cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Leek, tougher green end discarded, the rest roughly chopped and rinsed
6 med Ripe Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 c Dry White Wine
20 Black Olives, pitted (you can use black Nicoise or Kalamata, or your favourite big green olives)
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
Fresh Thyme or Basil, roughly chopped


In a heavy pan (I use cast iron), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken pieces skin side down. When the skins are golden brown, remove the pieces to a plate and set aside.
Add the onions, red pepper, garlic and leek and reduce the heat to medium. Cook gently until they soften.

Add the tomatoes, wine, olives and the fresh herbs. Stir things around to mix it up.

Return the thighs to the pan, skin side up, and nestle them into the vegetables. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 15 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue cooking for 10-15 more minutes. If things become a little too dry, add a little water. Check the doneness of the meat by inserting a small knife into the centre of the biggest thigh - wait ten seconds and then carefully touch the knife to your lower lip (if it's hot, they are done).
Serve with rice or plain, boiled potatoes.

Serves 4-6.

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