Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro


North African in spirit, this dish is easy enough for weeknight cooking but impressive enough to serve to guests. Note the sauté-and-roast technique used to prepare the chicken, which results in crisp skin and juicy meat.Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro
Photo: © Maura McEvoy


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • One 2-inch cinnamon stick

  • 3 saffron threads

  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

  • 2 tablespoons minced green olives

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and saffron and cook over moderate heat until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by three-quarters and becomes syrupy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the pieces skin side down and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced.

  3. Remove the cinnamon stick from the sauce. Add the olives and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with pepper. Rewarm the sauce over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Arrange the chicken on plates and spoon the sauce around it. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Contrast the strong, sweet, spicy and salty notes in the relish with a fruity, medium-weight Zinfandel.

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