Provençals Chicken with Olives, Anchovies and Tomatoes

This zippy tomato sauce with its olives, anchovies, and aromatic herbs brings all the heady flavours of Provence to the simplest of chicken dishes. It is best served with plain boiled rice, to soak up the delicious juice.

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram, finely chopped
  • 1.4 kg/3 lb chicken, quartered
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs of marjoram
  • 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 × 400 g/14 oz can tomatoes, chopped, and their juice
  • ¼ bottle of dry white wine
  • 24 small black olives, pitted

Method

First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the garlic and herbs for 5 minutes. Add the remaining sauce ingredients – the anchovies will dissolve in the heat – and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

While the sauce is busy simmering, prepare the chicken pieces. Mix the garlic with the herbs. With a sharp knife, make small slits in the flesh of the chicken and push herb-covered slivers of garlic deep into the cuts. Rub the skin with lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and brown the chicken pieces. Pour over the hot sauce, cover and bake in a preheated oven, 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6, for 20–30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Serve with boiled rice.

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