Luxurious Chicken and Olive Stew
I am writing this after having just eaten this delicious meal; my belly is full, it’s a warm summer evening and I feel content. The combination of green olives, wine and cream in this dish is a bit decadent but absolutely worth it. Such rich flavour. It’s great served with pasta, as I did today, but is just as good with new potatoes. The original version of this recipe came from an old cookbook on Italian cuisine that I picked up in a second hand shop a while ago, and it’s become one of my favourite ever meals. A nice green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is the perfect compliment on the side, and a bottle of chilled white wine to accompany is not essential, but definitely recommended!
I was feeling adventurous today and decided to make some fresh tagliatelle instead of the usual dried pasta. The dough was a pleasing rich yellow colour (it turns much lighter upon cooking) and I spent a good twenty minutes kneading it into the desired elastic consistency. It was satisfying and therapeutic. It’s too time consuming to make fresh pasta every time you make a pasta dish – after all, Italian cooking is supposed to be quick and simple – but it’s definitely worth doing it every once in a while.
Chicken and Olive Stew (serves 5)
First of all, take 5 large chicken thighs (about 600g altogether) and remove their skins and de-bone them. Slice them into strips about 1.5cm thick and set aside. In a large pot, melt a knob of butter and gently sauté 1 large onion, diced, and 3 cloves of garlic, chopped, for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, take 250g of button mushrooms and quarter them, take 1 green pepper and 1 yellow pepper and coarsely chop. Add the peppers and mushrooms to the pot and cook for a few more minutes. Peel and quarter 3 medium tomatoes (about 175g) and add to the pot along with the chicken. Add 250ml dry white wine and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes with the lid off to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Give it a stir, then simmer gently with the lid on for 40 minutes. Add 175g of pitted green olives and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons of double cream, and bring back to the boil before adjusting the seasoning, sprinkling over a bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley and serve with generous quantities of grated parmesan cheese.
If you want the sauce to be a bit thicker, what I do is strain it off into a separate pan, and whisk in small lumps of beurre manié, one at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Make sure you simmer the sauce for a few minutes after adding the last piece of beurre manié to properly cook the flour.