There is almost a poetic overtone for this dish. The colors are spectacular, and the flavors imparted from the brininess of the olives and the tart acidity of the lemons create a match made in heaven. The olives from Castelvetrano, Sicily are the most ubiquitous snack in Italy. They differ from other olives because they are a sweeter, very meaty and have almost a buttery flavor, which are ideal for this dish, so they don’t impart too much sodium. Ensure you tell your guests that the olives aren’t pitted.
10 chicken thighs – bone-in and skin on – and taken out of the fridge about 1 hour before cooking
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 lemon – sliced into thin rounds
10-15 Castelvetrano olives
1 bay leaf
½ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
¼ cup of white wine – such a Chardonnet
8-10 garlic cloves – smashed and skins left on
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F
In a large cast iron pan, heat up about 1-2 TBSP of olive oil and sear the thighs on both sides, skin side down first, together with the garlic cloves.
Mix the wine and the stock together and add it to the pan. Incorporate the olives, lemon slices, bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and transfer the skillet to the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the chicken is very tender.