On Writing, Tech, and Other Loquacities

The collected works of Lana Brindley: writer, speaker, blogger

Mediterranean Braised Chicken

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PhotobucketI have my friend Julie to thank for this recipe – at least in its initial form. It, like all my favourites, has morphed over time. The flavour in this recipe comes primarily from the rosemary, garlic, and the white wine, so be careful not to scrimp on them. I believe that this recipe could also benefit from the addition of a handful of black olives, but I’m not a big fan of them, so I leave them out. Another great winter recipe, this is one is a lot quicker and easier than some. I’ve used my Römertopf (clay baking dish) to cook it this time, but it works just as well in a ceramic baking dish. Just cover it with foil and use a slightly higher temperature.

PhotobucketIf you are using a Römertopf, start it soaking now. If you’re using a ceramic baking dish, turn your oven on to 180 degrees to preheat, and line the dish with baking paper.

PhotobucketHere’s everything you need except the meat: chat potatoes (they’re the small ones), a wedge of butternut pumpkin, a carrot, three tomatoes, pepper and salt (of course you only use proper sea salt flakes, don’t you. Don’t you? You should!), garlic (chopped cloves are fine, I would use about five), dry white wine (just about any variety – this is an unwooded chardonnay), extra virgin olive oil. And herbs – rosemary is the most important, and for this dish it really should be fresh. I’ve also got a little bit of parsley, and some thyme.

PhotobucketChicken! Legs and thighs work the best for this dish. Breasts tend to dry out. I imagine that marylands, and ‘lovely legs’ would also be successful.

PhotobucketI tend to leave the skin on the legs, but you can remove it if you like. Do trim the fat from the thighs, though. When you’re doing that, unroll them and just feel around for some bone. You will quite often find the tip of the leg bone still embedded in the flesh (it depends on your butcher, though, I suspect), and they can be rather unpleasant in your dinner if you’re not expecting it.

PhotobucketPut your pan over a medium heat, and dribble a good amount of olive oil in. Don’t, whatever you do, use a ‘light’ olive oil – it’s basically olive oil without any of that wonderful flavour. And that flavour is just so important in dishes like this one.

PhotobucketWhen the oil is hot, drop in the legs. No need to worry about overcrowding the pan in this case, provided the pan is nice and hot before they go in.


Brown them for about five minutes on each side – enough to get some colour on the chicken, and some colour in the pan. Put them straight into the baking dish (If you’re using a Römertopf, obviously tip the water out first!).

PhotobucketWhen the legs are done, brown off the thighs. Try to keep them rolled if you can, to try and prevent overcooking them.

PhotobucketThese really only need a minute on each side. They don’t take as long to cook in the oven as the legs.


Throw them into the pan, on top of the legs.


Here’s our lovely little chat potatoes, which are really not all that chatty, it turns out. Peel them, and cut them into halves. You might need to cut the larger ones into quarters. The main thing is to try and keep them roughly the same size.


Peel, deseed, and chop the pumpkin. Make these pieces slightly larger than the potato chunks.


Peel and chop the carrot. These pieces should be about the same as the potato.

PhotobucketAdd a little more olive oil to the pan, and throw the potatoes in first. Let them brown a bit before you add the other vegies, though.


Throw the rest of the vegies in.


And about five minutes later they should all have some colour on them.


Add them on top of the chicken.


This is a dirty pan. There’s no oil left in here, because that all went into the baking dish with the vegies. There are, however, some lovely flavours on the bottom of that thing that we want in our dish. So let’s retrieve them. Put the pan back on the heat, grab your bottle of wine, and stand well back …


Pour in a generous amount … it steams right up, so keep your face well away.


When the steam dies back, give the bottom of the pan a scrape with your spatula to get all the good stuff up. You might need to add some more wine to your pan – you need to end up with about half a cup or so. Leave it off the heat for now, we’ll get back to it in a second.

PhotobucketDice your tomatoes. Don’t bother peeling them, or deseeding them, just chop out the navel and dice them into good-sized cubes.


Scatter them on top of the other vegies.


Now sprinkle the garlic over the top. Be generous!


i’d like to introduce you to some friends of mine. Top left we have thyme, top right is parsley, and at the bottom is rosemary. The rosemary is important in this dish, but the others are entirely optional. Use what you have growing. If, like me, your rosemary is suffering in the cold right now, use as much fresh as you can get, but feel free to supplement it with some dried if that’s all you can get. I wouldn’t attempt this dish without at least a couple of sprigs of the fresh stuff though. The flavour just won’t come through as well.


Pull the leaves off with your fingers, we’re going to use them as is this time.

PhotobucketThrow them into the baking dish – look how colourful it is!

PhotobucketHere’s our deglazed pan … it looks awful, but it’s really just roasted chickeny bits and white wine. It actually smells really good!

PhotobucketPour it in on top of everything else.

PhotobucketAnd put the lid on. If you’re using a ceramic baking dish, just cover it with foil.

If you’re using the Römertopf, put it into a cold oven and set it to about 130 degrees. You’ll need to cook it for around an hour and a half to two hours.

If you’re using a ceramic baking dish, slip into a preheated oven at 180 degrees, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

PhotobucketI like to serve this as-is. No extras necessary. Enjoy 🙂

Photos can be found up at the Photobucket site

And if you haven’t had your say yet, jump over to this post and tell me what Slow Food Adventures you would like to see.


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