This chicken dish, frequently served on home tables in southern France, incorporates two of the regions top products (olives and tomatoes) as well as herbs. The olives, added toward the end of the cooking, plump as they absorb the juices. Having canned tomatoes and olives on hand in the pantry means you can easily whip up this good enough for company dish, which children love. Serve this with polenta, pasta, or rice. Any leftovers made good pasta sauce for the next day.
- 1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chopped canned tomatoes and their juice
- 16 oil-cured black olives
- Rub the chicken pieces all over with the pepper, half of the thyme, and half of the rosemary. In a Dutch oven large enough to eventually hold all the chicken pieces, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. When it is nearly smoking, add the chicken pieces a few at a time. Reduce the heat to medium, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned.
- Turn the pieces over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to brown the other side. Remove to a bowl when done and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and their juices, scrapping up any bits clinging to the pot. Return the chicken and any collected juices to the pot, spooning the sauce over the chicken. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the juices run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced with a knife, 75 to 90 minutes.
- Remove the cover, increase the heat to medium, add the olives, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or as needed to reduce and thicken the sauce. Stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary and serve hot.
Provided by: Georgeanne Brennan