This delicious recipe is the perfect reason to throw a Spring dinner party! Inexpensive chicken quarters are browned and roasted in a flavorful sauce of lemon juice, white wine, shallots, and green olives then finished off with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and feta cheese. The dish can be made ahead and reheated, making it perfect for entertaining.
I found some really good pitted green olives at my store’s olive bar. Sample a few different types (if your store lets you do that); you’ll need 1 cup of whole olives. I think pitted work best in this recipe so that nobody breaks a tooth biting into an olive pit. If you can’t find pitted olives, however, warn your guests about the pits. Also, buy olives that haven’t been marinated (you don’t want flavors competing in the dish).
Serve the chicken with buttered orzo (rice-shaped pasta) and a mixed green salad. For dessert, serve Sour Cream and Lemon Pound Cake with fresh berries. Enjoy!
Chicken Quarters Roasted With Lemons and Green Olives
-recipe from Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom
Many cooks overlook dark-fleshed thighs and legs in favor of their white-meat counterparts, breasts and wings. The truth is that thighs and legs are both moist and flavorful and can easily take center stage. In the following dish, chicken quarters (both legs and thighs) are roasted slowly in an aromatic mix of green olives, lemon, and white wine until they are golden brown, juicy, and tender. For serving, the chicken is showered with crumbled feta. Serves 6.
3 large, thick-skinned lemons
6 chicken leg-and-thigh quarters with skin on, about 3 1/2 pounds Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots (2 to 3 large shallots)
6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 cup green Mediterranean olives, pitted or unpitted
3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Arrange a rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 375°F degrees.
Zest 2 of the lemons to yield 2 tablespoons, and juice to yield 1/4 cup juice. Cut the third lemon into 6 wedges for the garnish.
Pat the chicken quarters dry with paper towels. Trim and discard any excess fat. Salt and pepper the chicken generously on both sides. Place an extra-large ovenproof frying pan (with a lid) over medium- high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom (3 to 4 tablespoons). When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the chicken pieces in a single layer. Brown well on all sides, turning several times, for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a side dish. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the oil in the frying pan and discard the rest (or add more oil to make 4 tablespoons if necessary).
Return the pan to the stove over low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until just softened but not browned, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add half the parsley, the garlic and the oregano and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, wine and olives, then return the chicken to the pan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the frying pan and place it in the oven. Roast until the chicken is very tender when pierced with a knife, 45-50 minutes, then remove the lid and roast for 5 to 10 minutes longer to let the juices reduce slightly. Watch carefully so that the juices do not evaporate completely.
Remove the chicken to a platter, tent loosely with foil and set aside. Add 3/4 cup broth to the pan and heat until it is warm. The mixture should have a very thin, sauce-like consistency. If too thick, add an additional 1/4 cup broth. (The chicken can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, covered, in a 350°F oven until hot, 15 minutes or longer, adding extra broth if needed.)
To serve, pour the juices over the chicken. Sprinkle with feta cheese and the remaining parsley, and garnish with the lemon wedges.
Market Notes: If you can’t find whole chicken legs (that is, the drumstick and thigh attached together), you can use six thighs and six drumsticks.
Picholine or Lucques olives are good green French olives that work well in this recipe.
Cooking Tip: If you do not have an extra-large frying pan, you can use a flameproof roasting pan/tray covered with a double thickness of foil.