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Roast Chicken with Olives and Yogurt

This tangy and flavorful chicken is Italian home cooking at its best.

slideshow Amazing Chicken Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • One 4-pound chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
  • 15 Calamata olives, pitted
  • 5 garlic cloves, 2 halved and 3 minced
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped marjoram
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yogurt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the chicken in a small roasting pan and season the cavity with salt and pepper. Cut 1 lemon half into quarters and add them to the cavity along with the thyme sprigs, 6 of the olives and the 2 halved garlic cloves. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken, rub it with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together.
  2. Cover the pan with foil and roast the chicken for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and baste the chicken. Increase the oven temperature to 500° and roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for about 15 minutes longer, or until it is golden and the juices in the cavity run clear.
  3. Pour the juices from the cavity into the roasting pan, transfer the chicken to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and skim off the fat.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the 3 minced garlic cloves and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, marjoram, chopped thyme, reserved pan juices and the remaining 9 olives and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken and serve with the herb sauce.

Suggested Pairing

A medium-bodied red or full-bodied white with acidity will complement the briny and tangy flavors here. Consider an Italian Pomino Bianco, a Chardonnay blend.

Contributed By Published October 2002

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