Chicken with Lemon and Green Olives

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 210 minutes
Servings: 6

In this budget-friendly dish, chicken drumsticks become luscious and tasty after a long stint in the moist environment of the slow cooker. Serving them with a piquant lemon and olive relish helps to cut the richness of the meat. Accompany with creamy mashed potatoes or a savory herbed rice pilaf for soaking up the flavorful juices.


  • 3 lb. (1.5 kg) chicken drumsticks, trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 3 small lemons
  • 1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) green olives, pitted and finely
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Pat the drumsticks dry, then season all over with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken and sear, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, thyme and bay leaves and sauté until the vegetables are just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the wine, stock, and vinegar and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker and place the chicken on top. Cover and cook on the low setting for about 3 hours. The chicken should be very tender.

Transfer the drumsticks to a serving platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan, let stand for a few minutes and then skim off the fat with a large spoon. Reheat over medium heat and keep warm.

Slice 1 lemon crosswise as thinly as possible, preferably with a mandoline. Remove the seeds and finely chop the slices, rind and all. In a bowl, combine the chopped lemon, olives, almonds and parsley. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, a scant 1⁄4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Cut the remaining 2 lemons into wedges. Drizzle some of the warm braising liquid over the chicken, top with the lemon-olive relish, and serve at once with the lemon wedges on the side. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).

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