This blog post comes with massive apologies for the distinct lack of blogging that has been going on around here. I have yet to master looking after a baby and staying on top of the washing, washing up and keeping the house in a reasonable state, so there is little current hope of managing to master looking after a baby, staying on top of the housework and doing other things, like blogging (although I’m writing this post with the best intentions for future posts…).
I can’t quite remember the process of the evolution of this recipe. I think its origins lie in the bleary-eyed first few weeks after Baby S’s arrival in our lives, when some great friends brought us a Sunday lunch of a delicious stew of beef, mushrooms and olives. I think artichokes may have been involved in that lovely meal, which then provided the inspirational springboard a couple of months later for a stew of chicken, mushrooms, olives and artichokes. The evolution continued until it reached the form taken in this recipe – a simple to prepare, do-able in advance (which is very high on my list of current supper requisites), quick, easy and tasty chicken dish that just needs the addition of a starch (my preferences are potatoes or rice) and some veg (my personal favourite being steamed green beans but a tasty salad would be just as good). This is currently my go-to guests-for-dinner dish, although I fear it is beginning to reach the end of that road as I’ve served it so many times that I’m probably in danger of developing a reputation for not knowing how to cook anything else. The amounts listed here are for guidance only – just follow your instincts and adjust any ingredients according to your personal preference. This makes enough for about 4 people.
What you’ll need:
7-8 chicken thighs or drumsticks
2 onions, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A medium to large pack of mushrooms, sliced (I think I used a 400 gram pack)
A jar or cooked artichokes
Generous handful of green olives
Generous glug of lemon juice
Generous glug of olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil but normal olive oil should be fine too)
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F).
2. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a large ovenproof, casserole dish.
3. Scatter the onions, garlic, mushrooms, artichokes and olives evenly (or roughly evenly) over the chicken pieces and then sprinkle the olive oil and lemon juice evenly over the chicken and vegetables in the casserole dish.
4. Bake the chicken in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 3 hours, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked with crispy skin and most of the liquid in the casserole dish has evaporated. About half way through the cooking time, you will need to turn and spread around the onions, mushrooms, artichokes and olives, pushing them down between the chicken pieces where possible to prevent the veg from burning (mine do tend to burn a bit - I tell myself it adds to the flavour) and to give the chicken skin a chance to get brown and crispy. As you will see from the photo below, the top of the dish tends to be pretty golden brown when you pull it out to spread around the veg.
5. When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven and either serve it immediately or allow it to cool and then keep in the fridge for a day or two until ready to re-heat and serve. The chicken can be re-heated by putting it back into an oven pre-heated to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F) for half an hour to an hour or until thoroughly heated through.