The genesis of this recipe was Moroccan Chicken Smothered In Olives from the New York Times. The basic ideas of the recipe seemed sound, but the suggested execution lacking. I did not brine my chicken. Maybe it would have been better, but my version was moist and flavorful without the additional step. I also did not just throw the ingredients into a casserole and braise it. I took a more classic approach and seared my chicken and cooked down my onions and garlic. I also started on the stove top, cooked in the oven and finished back on the stove top, as I often do.
Many of the reviews of the original recipe complained about a bland sauce. I can’t imagine how they achieved that result unless they opted not to reduce the sauce at the end and failed to adjust their seasoning. I used only half of the spices from the original recipe since it just seemed like too much and I had great flavors. I also did not blanch my olives as recommended which undoubtedly helped add flavor. Why would one want to extract the briny taste of the olives? I also added salt and pepper up front and at the end. I seasoned my meat before I seared it and adjusted the seasoning when reducing the sauce.
The original recipe was undoubtedly a little lower in calories and lower in sodium, but according to reviews lacked flavor. Give me a few more calories and better taste any day. I would gladly spend a few extra minutes in the gym than sacrifice flavor in my food.
I betrayed a basic principles here: try a recipe as written at least once and then adjust from there. I often abandoned this rule, but this one begged for upfront revision. A lack of seasoning and making sauce reduction optional just begged for substandard results.
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 11 ounces pitted green olives in brine, drained and halved
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Salt and pepper both sides of chicken pieces.
- In bottom of a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
- Remove chicken to a plate.
- Add onions and sauté until softened and translucent.
- Add chicken back to pan.
- Add chicken broth. Sprinkle with ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, and garlic. Place over high heat to bring to a boil.
- Cover and move to oven for 30 minutes, turning chicken once.
- Turn chicken again and add olives and lime juice to chicken, and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a platter and keep warm.
- Transfer pan to the stove-top and raise temperature to an aggressive simmer to reduce adding salt and pepper to taste. Thicken sauce to 1/4th or less in the volume.
- Pour sauce over chicken and serve hot.