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Chicken Stew with Green Olives

2011 September 6
by Mrs. FoodieLawyer

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.

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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.

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Slice the white and light green pieces in half and rinse, washing any dirt out from between the layers.

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Cut the leeks into pieces and separate the layers.

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Peel the garlic and chop it into medium-sized pieces.

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Remove the pits from the olives by placing your knife on top of the olive, then hit the knife to crush the olive.

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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.

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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.

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Cook the chicken until it is browned on both sides — 4-5 minutes per side.

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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.

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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.

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Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

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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.

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Add the olives to cook for the final 3-5 minutes.

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Slowly add the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Add the olives for the final 3-4 minutes of cook time.
  7. Salt & pepper to taste, garnish with chopped basil and serve.  Ladle the stew over cooked white rice for added texture.

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