I love bold, strong flavors particularly the briny saltiness of olives and capers. In this dish I use dry-cured black olives to up the briny flavor and saltiness of the dish but swapped caper berries for capers to avoid having too much of a good thing. The lemon adds brightness and the flavor ends up being quite complex for a dish that only takes about 45 minutes to come together. This braised chicken satisfies and is comforting without being too heavy so it’s a perfect spring dish. Note: to braise bring the liquid about 1/2 up the meat you are cooking. You don’t want to immerse it.
Braised Chicken with Artichokes, Olives & Caper Berries
5 chicken drumsticks (I just happened to have a pack of chicken which had 5 pieces. You could easily do a whole chicken or any combination of parts up to 8 pieces)
4 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs. Herbs de Provence (I get mine in the bulk spice section at Whole Foods so I can buy just what I need as it’s a seasoning I don’t use often.) Or, you can make it using Emeril Lagasse’s recipe.
1 tsp salt
14 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 c. frozen pearl onions
8 caper berries (from the olive bar at Whole Foods), sliced into rings or 1/4 c. drained capers
8 dry-cured black olives (from the olive bar at Whole Foods) or canned whole black olives
1 c. white wine (I used Pinot Grigio. Don’t use anything too sweet.)
2/3 c. stock, chicken or vegetable
juice of 1 large lemon, about 3 Tbs.
1/2 can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
1. Heat the oils in a skillet large enough to sear all the chicken.
2. While the oils heat, put the flour, Herbs de Provence and salt into a brown paper bag or Ziploc bag. I go old school like my Grandma did and just shake the paper bag to mix the seasonings into the flour.
3. Add the chicken to the bag and shake to coat with the flour.
4. Once the oil has heated, add the chicken and brown on all sides.
5. While the chicken browns, stir together your braising liquid – the wine, stock and lemon juice in a bowl.
6. Once the chicken has browned, add the braising liquid to the pot and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low or a gentle simmer. Taste the liquid and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
7. Add the caper berries, pearl onions, olives, artichokes and thyme sprigs to the pan.
8. Cover and let the chicken simmer for 10 minutes. You don’t want to boil the chicken so reduce the heat as necessary.
9. Uncover the pan and let the chicken continue to simmer for 20 more minutes, or just until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Serve with Spruced Up Israeli Couscous and a salad.