Saffron, orange zest, olives, and wine elevate this fast and easy chicken recipe above the norm. Don’t skip the anchovies. You won’t be able to taste them, but the recipe becomes just another chicken recipe without them.
3-1/2 pounds chicken (light, dark, or a combination)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 cup chicken stock
2 pounds ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped OR 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (reserve juice
1 strip (1 inch x 3 inches) orange zest
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 anchovies rinsed, patted dry and minced or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
15 Nicoise olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Blot chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook chicken until lightly browned on both sides.
Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and saute onion, bay leaf, and thyme until onions are soft. Add garlic and saute an additional minute, stirring often.
Carefully stir in white wine, then add saffron. Simmer until thickened and wine has almost completely evaporated, then add the chicken stock.
Simmer 8 to 10 minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Stir in tomatoes, orange zest, cayenne pepper, and anchovies.
Return chicken to the pan and gently simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir in olives. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.
Serve with rice or fresh greens.