Friday, March 11, 2011

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Black Olives ~

It's Friday and many of you are planning a nice weekend with family or friends--a time when you can let go of the work week and enjoy good food in a relaxing atmosphere. The weather has turned  Spring-like here, teasing us with nicer, warmer days.  So there may be some of you who can get outside to work on the yard, plant some flowers, or just watch the clouds roll by. A weekend can be as private as a bath sometimes, so it's really up to you how you spend your weekend. A lot of our life is lived on the weekends!

I haven't seen a recipe for roasted chicken that appealed to me so much as this one out of Avner Laskin's cookbook Olives: More than 70 Delicious & Healthy Recipes. And, by the way, this little cookbook is interesting because it has information about both black and green olives, recipes for tapenades, ratatouille, pizzas and pastas--all given the unique flavor of this versatile fruit. Avner gives directions for making flavored olive oils, spiced olives, and olive spreads. And there are recipes for vegetable dishes, rice dishes, breads, and fish or chicken dishes. The recipes aren't complicated and create a whole new taste sensation for our American palates. 

Now I'm bound to say that chicken is my favorite meat, and roasting brings out all of its wonderful flavor. Somewhere in my mind, I can still taste the fresh chicken that my mother used to cook on Sundays. This recipe calls for thighs, but the picture in the book shows legs as well, so that's definitely up to you. I believe that olives bring a unique and special flavor to all the dishes that I've given you this week. And I want to say that while I was on Avner's website, I saw a recipe for a dessert that I want to share with you sometime. It reminds me of an upside down cake. But I'll go back and decide about it later. For now, here's a recipe you might enjoy cooking for the family this very weekend!

Serves 4

12 chicken thighs, cleaned
5 medium potatoes, quartered
1/3 cup pitted black olives
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teasoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Transfer to a deep baking dish and cover.
  4. Cook for 40 minutes.
  5. Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.
  6. The chicken and potatoes should be golden brown. If they aren't, return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  7. Serve hot or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat before serving.
Now I ask you, "How easy is that?" And I believe that everyone who eats this dish will be thankful that you woke up their tastebuds in such a Mediterranean way. They may even dream of being on a Greek Island with white sandy beaches and gorgeous blue-green water. And if they ask you to make baklava for dessert, I'll give you the recipe, along with the easiest way to make it. There are all kinds of possibilities that didn't exist before you met the versatile olive!

Make the most of your Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

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