There’s nothing more comforting to me than nibbling on a just-out-of-the-oven roasted chicken. Maybe it’s the aroma, but then, once it’s cut open, it’s the chicken’s juiciness that pleases me.
When I was in France recently, visiting Stéphane from the blog My French Heaven, he made my girlfriend and I a roasted chicken dish that I’m still dreaming about. It’s officially called Tangy Green Olive Chicken, and the recipe is on his blog here. It’s one of those simple peasant dishes that just screams with flavor. Because he’s already posted on this dish, but I wanted to make it myself.
Following are photos I took from when Stéphane made this chicken masterpiece.
Because I don’t have the exact ingredients to create Stephane’s dish, I’m using it as inspiration to create my own version. I had no idea, for example, how challenging it would be to find green olives not stuffed with something!
I used a whole free-range chicken I purchased from D’Artagnon. Typically I purchase six at a time and they arrive frozen. They’re smaller than Stephane’s chicken and less fatty, but it’s the best I can get my hands on.
Before roasting, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit on convection, and let the bird come to room temperature.
For something a little different, and for additional fat, I wrapped a piece of onion with bacon and stuffed that in the chicken’s cavity. All I could fine were pimiento-stuffed olives, so I drained them and added them to the chicken cavity along with the bacon-wrapped onion. I then created an herb bundle and stuffed it in as well.
I did my best to sew the cavity together (it’s good I’m not a surgeon!), placed it in a baking dish, and poured a generous amount of olive oil over the top. I included the neck from the bag of innards, but I could tell my husband kept visiting the kitchen to make sure nothing offal went into the dish. It was tempting, but needless to say, the dogs enjoyed the innards later for dinner.
I then added more olives to the baking dish, as well as some peeled garlic cloves.
The bird got roasted for 30 minutes, and then I turned it over and roasted it for 15 more minutes. Then I removed the bird to rest, after first emptying the cavity into the baking dish. Then I returned the baking dish to the oven and roasted the olive mixture for 10 minutes.
I removed the bacon, onion, and herbs from the olive mixture, and using a slotted spoon, placed the olives and garlic in a bowl. I cut up the chicken into pieces and coated them with the remaining goodness in the baking dish, and roasted the chicken for about 10 minutes, just for a little browning.
The chicken pieces were placed in a bowl, followed by the olives, and then I turned the baking sheet over and poured all of the remaining oil and chicken juice over the chicken and olives.
I served the chicken and olives with a simple salad of greens and parsley.
But that’s not the best part. Stéphane put some of the juicy, oily olives on bread, and I had to do the same. It was my favorite part of the whole meal!
You can even smash them to make them more spreadable, if you wish. But I didn’t!
verdict: Of course, food that someone else cooks is always better. Stéphane’s chicken and olives dish was superb, and I wish I could find a similar chicken and similar green olives. And honestly, I’m not sure the onion and bacon did much more than take up room in the chicken’s cavity. If I were to do it over, I’d omit those, and place a bunch of garlic cloves along with the olives and herbs in the cavity. The olives and garlic that roasted in the pan just became overly roasted. They were good, too, but would have been better inside the chicken. Overall, though, the dish is divine. Don’t forget to serve bread with it!