Lemon and Olive Chicken


I have collected recipes for years. That practice has changed dramatically over the past few years. With the Internet, I mostly bookmark a recipe that is a candidate for a future meal. If I think the recipe is a “must try”, I print it and place it on a stack of other “must-try” recipes in my pantry. This recipe is a variation of a Martha Stewart recipe for chicken with olives and lemon. It was originally published in February 2003. It recently turned up in an Everyday Food daily email.

The recipe is largely intact. I substituted a cut-up 3-4 pound fryer for bone-in chicken breasts. I had the last remnants of my fresh thyme on my deck. You can use dried herbs. The recipe was very Greek inspired. I substituted kalamata olives for the black olives and added a few springs of fresh rosemary. The last change I made was to simmer the chicken covered for 45 minutes. It made a much more tender, flavorful and very moist chicken dish. Slow simmering really adds moistness.

Bariatric patients, particularly lapband patients, typically find chicken prepared with this method much more easier to  digest than grilled chicken. That is also why I substituted a cut-up fryer rather than the original recipe’s chicken breasts. Dark meat, such as thighs, work better with lapband patients. After about 15 minutes of prep time, it was covered and simmering filling house with a delicious aroma.

Nutrition Facts Lemon and Olive Chicken

Serves 8.

1 3-4 pound fryer (cut-up)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. In two batches, sear the chicken, skin side first, until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Cut lemons in half lengthwise and then into thin slices crosswise. If the skillet is dry, add the remaining tablespoon oil. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon slices, olives, stock, water, and herbs. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, pour in any accumulated juices from the plate. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat. Cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately. 

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