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Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Lemon (Pollo con Olive e Limone)

 This version of a simple, savory chicken dish, simmered to juicy tenderness, is made with thighs, meaty olives and a surprise ingredient—mildly spicy jalapeño chili.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 small jalapeño chili, seeded and minced 
  • 4 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 cup pitted meaty green olives, such as Cerignola, quartered 
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon, zest removed in thin strips 

Directions:

In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange 4 of the thighs, skin side down, in the pan. Cook, without turning them, until crispy and golden brown underneath, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook until browned on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to brown the remaining thighs. Pour off and discard all but about 2 Tbs. of the fat in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion and sauté until beginning to wilt, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño and 2 Tbs. of the parsley and sauté until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes more.

Return all of the chicken, skin side up, to the pan and pour in 1/4 cup of the wine. Simmer gently, uncovered, until most of the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Turn the thighs over and add the olives and lemon zest. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup wine and cook at a gentle simmer until most of the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and increase the heat to medium. Turn the thighs over and cook until opaque throughout and the juices run clear when a fork is inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, about 5 minutes more.

Position a broiler pan 4 inches below the heat source and preheat the broiler. Transfer the fry pan to the broiler and broil just to brown and crisp the chicken skin, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the thighs to a warmed platter and pour the pan juices over them. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley on top and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011).