Braised Chicken Legs with Green Olives

Chef Way In his book Braise, Daniel Boulud braises duck legs for several hours until they are meltingly tender and incredibly flavorful.

Easy Way Braising chicken in a liquid that combines onions, carrots, bacon and olives creates complex flavor relatively quickly.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 whole chicken legs (3/4 pound each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces thickly sliced lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 small turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, preferably Picholine
  • 2 large thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 3 of the legs to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining 3 legs over moderate heat.

  2. Pour off the fat in the casserole. Add the bacon, onion, carrots and turnips and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until barely softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the olives, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and stock. Nestle the chicken legs in the casserole so they are partially submerged and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are tender.

  3. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter; cover and keep warm. Strain the broth into a large measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible. Return the broth to the casserole and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the casserole, cover and cook for 5 minutes to heat through, then serve.

Suggested Pairing

Cabernet Franc, the grape of Chinon, also does well in Napa Valley; look for one with rich cherry flavor to go with this chicken dish.

Contributed By Photo © Frances Janisch Published October 2006

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