Mediterranean Olive Chicken

I grew up eating a lot of chicken and a lot of fish. My mom and stepdad stuck to a heart-healthy diet, which meant that we rarely ate red meat. I used to complain about this when I was 6 or 7 years old… in fact, I had a little saying, which I liked to proclaim in sing-song fashion:

Chicken or fish, chicken or fish, all we ever eat is chicken or fish.

My mother, bless her heart, refrained from wagging her finger at me and telling me that there were “starving kids in China.” She’d just smile, hand me my plate, and cheerfully announce that I was on dish duty. I quickly learned that I’d better stop complaining and eat up, or I’d be stuck doing dishes till I went to college.

Looking back, I find it funny that I was bummed about the lack of red meat in my childhood diet. Nowadays, I don’t eat much meat at all– in fact, I would say we’re about 80% vegetarian. We eat Mediterranean-style most of the time, which means we enjoy lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains and olive oil, and very little red meat. We prefer vegetarian entrees, but when we do choose to eat meat, it’s usually chicken or fish… more often chicken.

Because of our Mediterranean inclinations, I’m always coming up with new and creative ways to prepare chicken. I developed this recipe last week, and it was well liked all around. It started with a container of ripe green olives in the fridge that I’d been wanting to use up. The thought of marinating those salty olives with chicken sounded enticing. I began throwing together all kinds of complimentary flavors– lime juice for a mild tartness, honey for sweetness, garlic and oregano, plus red pepper flakes for a kick. After marinating and roasting, the chicken turned out just lovely… aromatic, herby, juicy and full of flavor. The marinade created delectable olive-laden pan drippings, so I skimmed the fat, added white wine, and whipped up a delicious sauce. It may not be the prettiest chicken I’ve ever made, but it sure was yummy. It would make a great weeknight recipe, or something different for the Friday night Shabbat meal. You can also serve it during Passover using products with a Passover-approved kosher hechsher. Try it and let me know what you think!

Recommended Products:

Mixing Bowls

Ceramic Baking Dish

Sauce Pan

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Mediterranean Olive Chicken


  • 3/4 cup chopped ripe green olives
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (if sensitive to spice, omit)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-5 lb chicken pieces, bone in, skin on
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or 2 tsp potato starch

You will also need

  • 9x13 baking dish, plastic wrap, foil
Servings: 6-8
Kosher Key: Meat
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the chopped olives, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, lime zest, red pepper flakes and oregano. Season the marinade with salt and pepper to taste-- you likely won't need much salt, the olives are salty on their own.
  • Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper (for kosher chicken, omit the extra sprinkle of salt). Place chicken pieces in a 9x13 ceramic or glass baking dish. Brush the pieces evenly with olive marinade.
  • Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to overnight (overnight is better).
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the baking dish with foil. Pierce a few vents with a sharp knife around the outer edges of the foil.
  • Place the covered dish in the oven. Let the chicken bake for 80-95 minutes, basting periodically, till well cooked and tender. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to let the skin get brown.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to a platter. Carefully tip the baking dish so that the pan drippings and juices gather in one corner. Use a spoon to skim off the clear liquid fat, separating it from the solid drippings. Discard the fat.
  • Pour the remaining drippings into a small saucepan along with ¼ cup of white wine. Heat the sauce slowly over medium.
  • While sauce is heating, whisk together 1 tbsp cornstarch or 2 tsp potato starch and 2 tbsp water till smooth. Pour the starchy liquid into the saucepan and whisk till combined. Heat the sauce till bubbling and thickened.
  • Serve the chicken topped with warm sauce. Note: this recipe is kosher for Passover if you use potato starch and Passover-approved products with a kosher hechsher.

Other Great Recipe Ideas

The Pioneer Woman: Herb Roasted Whole Chicken

Tasty Kitchen: Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos

Recipe Girl: Cilantro Chicken

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Chicken Souvlaki

Leite’s Culinaria: Peruvian Roast Chicken

Comments (28)Post a Comment

  1. This looks fabulous! Made my mouth water just reading the ingredients. Ha! I don’t’ know why you didn’t think it was pretty, the first thing I thought when I looked at it was, “what a pretty chicken dish!” :)

    Well done! ~ April

  2. Looks so good, I love the story about you and washing the dishes. I just found this site and really love recipes, they are what I love the internet for, recipe people seem to be like family to me. I am also addicted to the weather network, minus 39 here tonite, and will be for the next three nites, that’s almost 40 below zero and I am loving it, need some good recipes for the cold weather. thx

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I think it’s pretty! Looks especially delicious!
    Passover is right around the corner, my sister-in-law and I were already discussing the menu and table decor – going to be spring green and lavender this year. Still working on the menu, but keeping the quinoa we served for the first time last year, big hit…

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks delicious and I am anxious to give it a try, but I prefer to use skinless chicken in all of my recipes. Will this be a problem?


    1. Hi Marcia… do you mean a skinless whole chicken or boneless skinless chicken breasts? Either way it will turn out dry if you cook it as written with no skin. If you let me know which cut you’re referring to, I can suggest a modification.

    2. Hi,

      I also don’t have access to kosher chickens with skin on. If we are using skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, what modification would you suggest?

    3. Hi Joelle, marinate the breasts in the olive mixture for 1 hour up to overnight, then broil or grill the breasts till cooked through (make sure you don’t cook them too long or they’ll turn out dry). I sometimes pound the breasts to an even thickness before marinating, this helps them to cook more evenly.

  5. Sorry I wasn’t more specific. I can buy chicken breasts on the bone and request that the skin be removed by the butcher. Or I could remove the skin myself after cooking. Would either of these options work?

    1. Hi Marcia, no problem. I would recommend you remove the skin yourself after cooking… it will be much more flavorful cooked with the skin, it will help to lock the juices into the meat. Enjoy!

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this the other night and even my teenage boys devoured it coming back for seconds. They said I needed to make this again. Yummy!

  7. i have a jar of almond stuffed green olives looking for a recipe, you have provided it. love that you use chili flakes, and lime juice.
    thanks, tori

  8. This looks really enticing and inviting but I would like to know will it still work if you replace green olives with black olives??


  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Looks delicious! I’m planning to make this tomorrow night. Can I skip out making the extra sauce at the end? Trying to avoid excess calories…thanks!!

    1. Hi Shelley, you can make the chicken 1 day ahead, but I’m not really sure how the sauce will hold up overnight. It is worth a try, but you might have to reconstitute the sauce with some liquid (broth or water) to bring it back to the proper texture. I am just guessing here, as I haven’t tried it myself.

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