Chicken is one of most versatile ingredients to use when cooking dinner. It can be used with a variety of sauces and spices to create dishes of significantly different character; bold, spicy, lemony, tangy, sweet, mild… The lemon zest and herbs in this chicken with green olives and capers add a fresh bright flavor and bring memories of spring and summer dinners on the patio. It is filled with colors, aromas, and flavors of the Mediterranean and, specifically, Southern Italian and Greek summer.
It’s fast enough to make on weeknights as well as Sunday dinner. It’s very light and bursting with flavors heightened with the piquant olives and capers.
The lemon juice tenderizes the chicken while braising in white wine and herbs result in a dish that is light and bursting with flavors heightened with the piquant olives and capers.
As this recipe requires a variety of ingredients, I like to prepare them (mise en place) before start cooking. When I do not have fresh thyme and sage at hand, I use dried herbs; just remember, for dry herbs, to use 1/3 of the quantity mentioned below.
And as the smell of it is in the air, get ready for many questions about that bright aroma emerging from the kitchen and exclamations of pleasure compliments when your guest taste this dish…
Kali Orexi! Καλή Όρεξη!
- 4 Chicken breast fillets or 8 chicken thighs skinless boneless
- 1 small Onion finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 6 tbsp Olive oil, extra virgin, divided
- 12 Green olives Greek "Tsakistes" or Sicilian olives, pitted and sliced or halved
- 3 tbsp Capers
- 1/4 cup Dry white wine like Pinot Grigio (for a paleo / Whole30 version, replace with low sodium chicken broth)
- 3/4 cup Chicken broth
- 1 tbsp Lemon zest
- 3 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp Fresh sage leaves chopped
- Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
Drain the olives and the capers and place each of them in a small bowl with lukewarm water. Let them soak while preparing the chicken.
If using chicken breast filet, slice them in half horizontally to create two cutlets.
Sprinkle the chicken with pepper and a pinch of salt. Be very conservative with the use of salt at this stage, as the capers and the olive will release additional salt in the sauce.
In a heavy bottom skillet, heat 4 tbsp olive oil over medium-high. Add the chicken and sauté until browned on all sides, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep it warm.
Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Increase the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pan. Cook on high for 2 minutes, until half of the liquid, is evaporated.
Return the chicken, and any juices, to the pan and add the broth. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, sage, and thyme. Drizzle with the lemon juice.
Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Drain the olives and the capers and dry them using kitchen paper towels.
Add the olives and the capers, and cook for 2 more minutes.