Apparently this recipe was very popular over 25 years ago from the Silver Palate Cookbook. It is not a dish that I have ever had before, but one that I found intriguing based on the ingredients. Dinner started with chicken pieces simply seasoned with salt and pepper and browned skin-side down in a skillet and removed. Then in the same skillet a paste of green olives, prunes, olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovy fillets, oregano, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes were sauteed briefly until fragrant and started to stick slightly to the bottom of the skillet. The pan was then deglazed with chicken broth, white wine, more olives, capers and a couple of bay leaves. The chicken went back in the pan and went into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the chicken was coated with more of the paste and went back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
At this point the chicken was removed to a serving platter and covered with aluminum foil. The sauce was finished with some butter, vinegar, parsley and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. This recipe sounded wonderful, but in general I have had a problem with cooking chicken pieces on the bone to the point where it is safe to eat. This recipe left me with chicken that was not done; and I'm sure it is partially my fault. The recipe does indicate during the second roasting time in the oven that the leg quarters should register 175 degrees on a meat thermometer. I guess I need a lesson on exactly where to insert a thermometer in a leg quarter to get an accurate reading. I ended up separating the thigh from the drumstick after serving and putting it back in a 400 degree oven for another 15-20 minutes. It was perfect after this extra roasting time, however my egg noodles and green beans were quite cold.
As much as I loved the flavors in this recipe, I think it will be a while before I attempt it again.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Any combination of split breasts and leg quarters can be used in this recipe.
1/3 cup pitted green olives, rinsed
1/3 cup pitted prunes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 1/2-3 pounds bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts and/or leg quarters trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 up pitted green olives, rinsed and halved
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup pitted prunes, chopped coarse
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
For the paste:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until finely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Scrape down bowl and continue to process until mostly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl. (Paste can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
For the chicken:
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and season with pepper.
Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving it until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes Transfer chicken to large plate. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet and return to medium-low heat.
Add 1/3 cup paste to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and fond forms on pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, olives, capers and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Return chicken to pan, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven and use back of spoon to spread remaining paste over chicken pieces; sprinkle prunes around chicken. Continue to roast until paste begins to brown, breast register 160 degrees, and leg quarters register 175 degrees, 7 to 12 minutes longer.
Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from sauce and whisk in butter, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce around chicken, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, and serve.
My rating with reservations: