Chicken and olives are a great combination, as cultures around the world have known for centuries. In the Caribbean, yellow rice is added to mix. In Sicily, tomatoes are a part of the scheme.
For this Moroccan-inspired recipe, from Michele Scicolone’s recent cookbook, “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22), the addition of ginger, cinnamon and a touch of turmeric make all the difference in the world. As the author says, “A combination of several spices and herbs gives this savory Moroccan-style chicken great flavor. Stir in the olives near the end of the cooking time so that they don’t get too soft. Couscous or rice is the perfect accompaniment.”
My slow cooker works quickly. The meat was so well done in four hours that it fell off the bone and shredded. So, you may want to use chicken parts with bones that are easily removed once cooked. Also, I ran out of time near the end, so I used rinsed olive salad instead of green olives. It worked just fine.
Spicy Chicken with Green Olives
4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, legs and thighs (legs and thighs skilled, if you like)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup small pitted green olives, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint
Spray the insert of a large slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium skillet, heat the over over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, paprikae, cinnamon, turmeric and broth, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes more. Pour the mixture over the chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until the chicken is very tender and coming away from the bone.
Rinse the olives and drain well. Add the olives to the cooker and cook for 30 minutes more. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and olives to a serving platter. Cover and keep warm.
Pour the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced. Taste for seasonings.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs and serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
From “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker” by Michele Scicolone