Italian-style weeknight chicken dinner

This is a super-easy dish requiring little effort or talent.  It comes from chef David Tanis, who is a wizard at combining good flavors with little fuss.  The best NYT food writer in my opinion.

Here’s the idea of this: Roast then braise chicken thighs. Takes just a few minutes of work/prep time. Then oven time of 1 hour. Flavors are complex and harmonious. Good enough for company.

Accompany with roasted asparagus and perhaps some roasted potatoes. Or buttered noodles if you’re feeling indulgent carb-wise.

David Tanis’ Braised Chicken with Olives and Lemon

Serves 2 people.  Double recipe for 4 or leftovers.


4 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in

3 garlic cloves, minced

scant ½ t fennel seeds, crushed

scant ½ t red pepper flakes

½ T rosemary, rough chopped, or less if using dried

½ T olive oil

½ c olives, about ½ # with pits. I like Castelvetrano. You can use black in a mixture.

1 lemon – regular or Meyer lemon (preferably), cut into wedges

½ c chicken broth

chopped parsley for garnish at end


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken dry; season with S&P, and put in earthenware baking dish in one layer, skin side up.
  3. Mix together fennel, red pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Use mortar & pestle if using dried rosemary. Sprinkle onto chicken, and rub in. Cut lemon into wedges and tuck in among chicken pieces. Let sit out for 15 minutes.
  4. Put chicken in oven and roast uncovered about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes to brown skin slightly. Remove dish from oven, switch oven back to baking, scatter olives over chicken, and add chicken broth. Cover tightly and bake for 55 minutes or so, until meat is tender.
  5. When finished cooking, pour sauce into saucepan and reduce over high heat by half. Spoon sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve.


While chicken is in the oven, prepare vegetable accompaniments: a nice salad, and roasted asparagus and/or roasted potatoes or buttered noodles.

Chop some parsley to sprinkle on chicken before plating.





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