Braised Chicken, Mediterranean Style
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole cut-up chicken or 3 pounds parts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets or 1 tablespoon drained capers, optional
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, chicken stock, or water
- 1 cup Nicoise or kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- Put the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- When hot, add the chicken, skin side down.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed but adjusting the heat so the chicken sizzles but doesn't burn, until the pieces release easily from the pan, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Turn and rotate them every few minutes to brown them evenly.
- As the chicken pieces brown, after another 5 to 10 minutes, remove them from the pan.
- Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and pour or spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
- Add the onions and anchovies and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and the anchovies break up, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and tomatoes and turn up the heat.
- Cook until the mixture starts to bubble and the tomato thickens a bit, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine, stir, and let the mixture bubble for another 2 minutes.
- Add the olives and thyme, along with some pepper.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan, tucking them into the sauce a bit.
- Adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles but steadily, then cover the skillet.
- Cook, checking every 5 minutes to turn the pieces, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes, adding a tablespoon of liquid if the sauce looks too dry.
- The meat is done when a quick-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 155 - 165 F.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and taste the sauce; adjust the seasoning, spoon it over the chicken, garnish with the parsley, and serve.