Now that it’s September, cooler weather is FINALLY on the way, and we could not be happier. It’s been a brutal summer here, but we have been blessed with glorious temperatures in the low 80s for the last couple of days and we are excited for fall. In addition to a break from the hot weather, fall means cooking more of our favorite soups, chili and other comfort-food dishes. This stew, adapted from a recipe in Glamour magazine, is a great dish for the transition from summer to fall. The olives and basil give it a bright, summery flavor, while the broth and tomatoes provide richness. It’s also really easy to make with simple ingredients: chicken, leeks, olive oil, garlic, white wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, green olives and basil.
The original recipe calls for using a fennel bulb, but we like leeks better so we used those instead. Prepare the leeks by cutting off the tops, then cut off the green ends, leaving about 1/3 of the light green part and the white parts.
Slice the white and light green pieces in half and rinse, washing any dirt out from between the layers.
Cut the leeks into pieces and separate the layers.
Peel the garlic and chop it into medium-sized pieces.
Remove the pits from the olives by placing your knife on top of the olive, then hit the knife to crush the olive.
Pick out the pit and pull the olive apart into 2 pieces. You could also use pitted green olives — just cut them in half and remove any pimento pieces.
Although the original recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into pieces, we used bone-in chicken thighs instead. The dark thigh meat tastes delicious, stays moist and is nearly impossible to overcook. Plus, you avoid the unpleasant task of cutting up a whole chicken. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pan) over medium-high heat, then add the chicken.
Cook the chicken until it is browned on both sides — 4-5 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Take off the chicken skin and discard, otherwise the skin will get a little rubbery when the chicken finishes cooking in the stew.
Add a little more oil to the Dutch oven and lower the heat to medium, then cook the leeks and garlic until softened — about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
Put the chicken back in the Dutch oven and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, adding the chicken stock little by little as the stew thickens.
Add the olives to cook for the final 3-5 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste, garnish with fresh chopped basil and serve. This stew is delicious on its own, with a side of crusty bread, or would also be really good served over rice for a little added texture. We love this dish as a combination of farewell to summer (good riddance 100+ degree temps!) and preview of all good things fall — from cooler weather, to the State Fair, to a new TV season, to big bowls of warm and savory food — just to name a few.
Chicken Stew with Green Olives
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs, seasoned with salt & pepper on both sides
- 1 cup chopped leeks
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup pitted green olives, crushed or chopped in half
- handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a Dutch oven or large pan, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Cook until browned on both sides — about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Take off the chicken skin and discard.
- Add about ½ to 1 tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven, lower the heat to medium, then add the leeks and garlic and cook until softened — about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slowly add the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the Dutch oven and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the chicken stock little by little while the stew cooks and thickens.
- Add the olives for the final 3-4 minutes of cook time.
- Salt & pepper to taste, garnish with chopped basil and serve. Ladle the stew over cooked white rice for added texture.