Monday, December 14, 2009

Pollo con Olive e Pignoli

I flipped on the television a couple mornings ago and saw Lidia's Italy on PBS. She was touring a few places in Italy where olives are grown. The show triggered a serious olive craving. She made a simple dish with olives and pine nuts and then served braised celery and onions on the side. I had to have it!!!
In my opinion, these Organic Pitted Green Olives worked the best with Lidia's chicken recipe.

Pollo con Olive e Pignoli
Serves 6
* This recipe is adapted from
Lidia Bastianich NEW cookbook, “Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy”

3½ to 4 pounds chicken thighs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 plump garlic cloves, peeled
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup brine- cured green Italian olives, drained
½ cup white wine or 2 Tablespoons vodka
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Rinse the chicken pieces, and pat dry with paper towels.
Season the chicken all over with the salt.

Put the olive oil and butter in the pan, and set over medium- low heat. When the butter is melted and hot, lay in the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a single layer; drop the garlic cloves and bay leaves in the spaces between them.

Cover the pan, and let the chicken cook over gentle heat, browning slowly and releasing its fat and juices. After about 10 minutes, uncover the pan, turn the pieces, and move them around the pan to cook evenly, then replace the cover. Turn again in 10 minutes or so, and continue cooking covered.

After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, scatter the olives onto the pan bottom, around the chicken, and pour in the wine. Raise the heat so the liquid is bubbling, cover, and cook, gradually concentrating the juices, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, and cook uncovered, evaporating the pan juices, occasionally turning the chicken pieces and olives. If there is a lot of fat in the bottom of the pan, tilt the skillet and spoon off the fat from one side.Scatter the pine nuts around the chicken, and continue cooking uncovered, turning the chicken over gently until the pan juices thicken and coat the meat like a glaze.

Turn off the heat, and serve the chicken right from the skillet, or heap the pieces on a platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Spoon out any sauce and pine nuts left in the pan, and drizzle over the chicken.

A couple olive notes...

I know it depends on the brand, but the Greek kalamata olive tastes better, to me, than the Italian olives. Rounder finish and missing that little tangy bite. Great in a salad or on its own with some feta.

Also, if you ever come across the Castelvetrano green Italian olives, don't be turned off by their bright green color, these olives are the best!!! The rich flavor and meaty texture are a perfect combination with a crisp glass of wine.

This green olive was quite mild. I served it with Hummus and Pita. YUM.

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