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Chicken with Green Olives, Orange, and Sherry

February 16, 2009

Chicken with Olives and Oranges

At the beginning of every month, I go through my back issues of Bon Appetit for that month and mark recipes that look interesting. I take note of things I want to try, and am always amused to find that something that looked great to me a few years ago no longer seems intriguing, and something I had no interest in the first time through the magazine suddenly stands out. This is one of those recipes: The January 2005 issue featured this Chicken with Green Olives, Orange, and Sherry in the FastEasyFresh column, and I breezed right by it four years ago and never gave it a second thought. And I didn’t know what I was missing.

I wouldn’t necessarily say it was super easy. It was actually kind of messy and more time consuming than I expected, especially since I had to pit all the olives and they didn’t want to give up their pits without a fight. Also, it filled my kitchen with smoke and made me yearn, yet again, for an exhaust hood. But in the end, it was definitely worth it.

I chose not to use oranges because frankly, I find most oranges to be completely flavorless. When did oranges become so dry and lose their lovely orange scent and generally become unappealing? I decided to use a tangelo instead, and while the flavor benefited, the orange pieces were a little too big. It would have been smarter to cut each slice in half width-wise, I suspect. It didn’t really make much of a difference other than that it was kind of awkward to eat around these huge slices of tangelo, so it’s really up to you.

I debated serving the chicken over pasta or rice, and eventually realized that the rice would soak up more of the sauce, so rice it was. A bit of sauteed spinach would be an excellent edition to this meal, as well; I felt like I wasn’t getting enough vegetables with my dinner. Unless olives count as vegetables?

Chicken with Olives and Oranges

Chicken with Green Olives, Orange, and Sherry

  • 2 T. canola oil (the original recipe calls for olive oil, which caused a serious amount of smoke to fill my kitchen, so I’d say go with something with a higher smoke point, like canola)
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 2 or 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. cooking sherry
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 1 tangelo or tangerine or orange, if you can get good oranges, cut into wedges
  • 1/3 c. brine-cured green olives (I used picholines)
  • 1 T. honey
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and sear in the skillet until the chicken pieces are browned and release from the pan easily, about five or six minutes per side.

Remove the chicken to a plate, and keep the skillet on the stove, over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute until they are soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Then add the sherry and stir, scraping up the lovely and delicious browned chicken and shallot bits. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until it reduces by about half.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil again. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet, and place the orange wedges and the olives among the chicken pieces. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken to a platter or serving bowl, and bring the sauce in the skillet to a boil. Stir in the honey, and some salt to taste, and boil the sauce until it thickens, about five or six minutes. It won’t thicken too much, just enough to barely coat the back of spoon. Once it’s ready, pour it (with the olives and oranges) over the chicken and serve.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2009 12:51 pm

    My current apartment and my last apartments both had/have range hoods . . . that do not vent to the outdoors. They vent over your head. Closer to the smoke detector. Personally, I’m not sure I understand the point of even having one when that’s the case.

    I also hate pitting olives.

  2. joy permalink
    February 17, 2009 4:02 am

    Pitting olives is an irritating task. I find that a cherry pitter usually works pretty well.

  3. Heather permalink
    February 19, 2009 6:25 pm

    This sounds deelish! Do you think it would work with bonless chx breasts? Whats the point of bone-in? Im in a cooking funk and need some new but easy recipes. :)

  4. February 25, 2009 7:37 am

    Boneless chicken breasts would definitely work; it would probably just need to cook for a little less time.

    I’ll have to seek out a cherry pitter soon; especially since I was thinking of making a cherry pie again this summer (can you tell I’m already dreaming about summer fruits? I’m sooo over winter and potatoes and lentils).

  5. March 2, 2009 5:13 am

    Olives totally count as a vegetable! :)

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