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Braised Chicken Legs with Olives and Tomatoes

A rich tapenade intensifies the tomato sauce for these meaty chicken legs.

slideshow Amazing Chicken Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 whole chicken legs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • One 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 cup Calamata or other black olives, pitted (about 4 ounces)


  1. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until almost smoking. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour off the fat.
  2. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the onion and 3 of the garlic cloves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken to the skillet with the tomatoes, wine and rosemary; season with pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt. Transfer the chicken to plates and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the olives with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 garlic clove to a coarse paste. Stir the olive paste into the pan sauce and warm over moderate heat. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.


Olive Oil A peppery extra-virgin olive oil will punch up the chicken and the olive sauce.

Suggested Pairing

A soft, fruity California red, such as a Merlot or Marlstone, echoes the strong olive flavors here.

Contributed By Published April 1998

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