Chicken with black olives and oregano

cooking chicken with herbs and tomatoes

The food clock: a year of cooking seasonally, 320pp.
by Fast Ed Halmagyi
HarpersCollinsPublishers, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on page 32

This is second time I have cooked from a book by Fast Ed Halmagyi. The first was his flavour-packed and huge muffuletta sandwich, which appeared in his cookbook, An hour’s the limit.

The food clock is more than a cookbook. In addition to 150 recipes, it combines short stories and sketches about a fictional Monsieur Henri Petit-Pois as he potters through the year in his garden, home and community. The recipes are simple to prepare and make the most of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

chicken with oregano and olives

Chicken with black olives and oregano

4 chicken marylands (thigh with drumstick attached)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
90g (1/2 cup) marinated black olives, halved and pitted
1/2 preserved lemon (skin only), thinly sliced
250g cherry tomatoes
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 bunch of oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

chicken browning preserved lemons fennel, oregano and preserved lemons

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then sear in a large frying pan with the olive oil over high heat for 3 minutes, turning several times until well browned.

Mix in the olives and preserved lemon, then turn the heat to moderate and fit the lid. Cook gently for 15 minutes until the chicken is firm to the touch, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and the chicken juices run clear when pierced at the joint.

Stir in the fennel and chilli, scatter over the oregano, then serve immediately.

How it played out
I first heard of the chicken cut called maryland (thigh with attached leg) when I came to Australia in the 1980s. It’s not an expression I ever heard in the USA, but perhaps it has regional usage. All I know is that it’s the perfect combination for dark meat lovers like all of us. 

This recipe is easy-to-make, so I followed the instructions. That said, I cooked the chook (Aussie slang for chicken) in my Le Creuset frypan because the lid fits tightly. The pan’s enamel coating keeps the chicken from browning completely, but that’s more an appearance than flavour issue. 

The preserved lemon was from a batch my friend, Caroline, and I made last year. What a treat. Feeling brave, I used the mandolin to cut the fennel. Someday I’ll get used to that finger-slicing fiend. 

chicken and vegetable dish

While I like fennel—and am especially fond of a raw fennel salad with lemon and Parmesan cheese—I allowed the fennel to cook for a few minutes to take the edge off its rawness.

We thoroughly enjoyed the chicken, olive and oregano, but were rather disappointed with the fennel. It seemed to be an after-thought ingredient and I wouldn’t use it again in this recipe. Everything else about this recipe worked for us. 

The Food Clock cookbook

Oh, and I just realised that most of the pics don’t show much of the oregano garnish. My garden is overrun with oregano, but I took all these pics before I had sprinkled it liberally over the entire dish. Hey, these things happen.

If you’re a fan of chicken, you might like the post I did on a couple of fellows dealing with 20 kilos of chicken in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Or check out the amazing chef we encountered when we stayed at a classy campground on the banks of the Ganges River in India.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Main dish, Poultry, Vegetable and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Chicken with black olives and oregano

  1. Wonderful delicious recipe ❤
    I would have not added fennel, I don't like cooked fennel, but I do adore origano 😀

  2. Oh this looks so good! Must try!

  3. A great recipe and anything with oregano has my blessing and black olives too. I sometimes eat olives at breakfast to get me going.

  4. Sy S. says:

    The supermarket had drumsticks already cut up into bite size pieces (less the skin) and since I had this chicken package the refrigerator I used it (I thought the package also contained thighs, but not so). I went to the Italian grocery store and got multi-colored olives (not pitted) and used this. The red colored olives had a red die and it make the chicken pieces a light pink, after cooking. And I did not use fennel, but did get fresh Oregano leaves (never tried it before, would you believe). Plus I used some plum tomatoes and several slices of lemon. This turned out to be one of the better P32/132 recipes and I will make it again, but next time with drumsticks and thighs. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh wow, Sy, I’m delighted you made this recipe and enjoyed it so much. Hey, it even got you to buy.try fresh oregano. I like the idea of using multi-coloured Italian olives as it gives the dish even more visual zing. Thanks so much for the comment.

    • Sy S. says:

      Part II – Eureka, made this recipe again tonight and it came out much, much better.
      The first time the Red Olives had a die and colored the chicken pieces pink… so I had overcooked the chicken thinking it was not completely cooked.

      This time I bought a package of 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs and removed the skin (easy way is with paper towels for a better grip) and also removed some fat. Cooked in a pan, adding some lemon slices (no preserved lemons) and no fennel. Then after the “Chuck” was cooked somewhat, added three plum tomatoes (sliced)… and did not let the tomatoes cook to long. Finally added the multi-colored olives briefly to heat up.. then plated and sprinkled with fresh Oregano. Again, I did not overcook the chicken.. a very nice recipe and it did not take a long time to make. This recipe gets 4 stars out of 5!

      • leggypeggy says:

        Oh Sy, you are amazing. You make this recipe not once, but twice, in the same week. I am impressed and so glad the second version was nicer than the first. Let us know if you make it again. 🙂

  5. macalder02 says:

    An over-delicious recipe.

  6. Sheryl says:

    This dish looks delightful – even if the fennel didn’t quite work. 🙂

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