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Basque Chicken With Almonds And Olives

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  Skinless boneless chicken breasts 3 Pound
  Canned italian plum tomatoes with juice 35 Ounce (Whole, Not Crushed, 1 Can)
  Lemon zest 1 Tablespoon (Zest Of One Lemon)
  Olive oil 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) (1/4 Cup Plus More For Deep Frying)
  Onion 1 Large, chopped
  Garlic 2 Clove (10 gm), minced
  Stuffed green olives 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Canned pitted black olives 4 Ounce, drained (1 Can)
  Capers 1 Tablespoon, drained
  Salt 1 1⁄2 Teaspoon (Can Use Less, If Desired)
  Pepper 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Slivered almonds 1 Cup (16 tbs)
  Flour 1 Cup (16 tbs)
  Dried thyme leaves 1⁄2 Teaspoon

Wash the chicken in cold salted water.
Rinse and drain well.
Cut the whole breasts into quarters lengthwise (or sixths if they're large).
Cut the tomatoes into chunks.
Use a vegetable peeler to cut the zest from the lemon, with no white pith; cut the zest into thin strips.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet.
Add the onion and garlic, and saute on medium heat until the vegetables are yellow.
Add the tomatoes and juice, green and black olives, capers, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon (or less) of salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the almonds.
Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The mixture should have a sauce-like consistency.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using.
Put about a third of the mixture in a plastic bag and add about a third of the chicken pieces.
Close the bag tightly and shake it to coat the chicken.
Prepare the remaining chicken the same way, in 2 more batches.
The coating should be thin; shake off any excess.
In a second large skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil and brown the chicken lightly on both sides, in batches.
Don't crowd the pan; don't cook the chicken through.
Add oil as needed (the thinner the flour coating, the less oil needed).
Spoon half the sauce into a large roasting pan (glass or ceramic) from which you can serve.
Lay the chicken on top.
Spoon the remaining sauce over it.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup almonds.
The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated until needed.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through but not dry.
if the casserole is cold, this may take 40 minutes.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Side Dish

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