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!
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- 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
- 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