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Chicken Thighs (seared and oven-roasted)
with Green Olives and Shallots
By Charlie Burke

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Chicken thighs are moist and rich in flavor; also, they are much more forgiving
than chicken breasts in cooking time. A few minutes of overcooking can make
breasts dry and flavorless, while the dark thighs leave more room for error.

Although more caloric than chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and with the skins
removed, chicken thighs are still healthy and flavorful. In previous columns I
have described how restaurant chefs start a dish by sautéing fish or meat and
then finish the dish in a hot oven. Chicken thighs lend themselves well to this
technique and remain tender under high heat.

Cooked this way, they also lend themselves to many sauces. With wine, garlic,
tomatoes and herbs, they have a Provencal flavor, and Balsamic vinegar lends an
earthy sweet taste. Preparing chicken or another meat this way lets you use your
favorite sauce to give your meal a personal touch.

This recipe came from a night when we had chicken thighs in the refrigerator
and wanted a quick dinner with a Mediterranean taste. I remembered a chicken
dish in southern France which had a wine sauce and green olives. We had some
large imported green olives so it was easy to come up with a similar version.

Four servings:

8 chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and skin removed
8 shallots, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup green olives, coarsely chopped
½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried marjoram (optional)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees or to the highest oven temperature.

Lightly salt and pepper thighs.

Heat a sauté pan over high heat, film the bottom with olive oil olive oil, and,
when the oil is nearly smoking, add chicken thighs and shallots. Cook for 4-5
minutes until chicken is well browned.

Add olives, wine, and marjoram. Place sauté pan into the oven and cook for
20-25 minutes, checking thighs at 20 minutes. Remove thighs when done and
reduce sauce over a high burner until slightly thickened. Taste sauce for salt and
pepper.

Pour sauce over the thighs and divided roasted shallots and olives among them.
Serve with rice, potato or pasta, along with a green vegetable and a salad. Crusty
bread and a fruity red wine such as a Pinot Noir will add a final Mediterranean
touch.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Chicken Thighs with Green Olives & Shallots
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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