Poule aux Olives Vertes

Chicken with Green Olives

If many of Denise’s recipes seem to be slow-cooked ones, there is a good reason. They date from the days when her family worked in the vineyards picking grapes, & these one-pot dishes could be left by the fire all day, to simmer gently & imbibe the perfumes of wine & herbs.


  • 4 ½ lb/2 kg boiling fowl
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp/30 ml cognac
  • 1 bottle white wine (not too acid)
  • 2 tbsp/30 ml each chopped fresh thyme, marjoram & savory or 1 tsp/2.5 ml each of dried herbs
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, deseeded & roughly chopped (or tinned tomatoes if Fresh ones are not tasty)
  • 6 oz/175 g mushrooms (or dried ceps soaked in warm water)
  • 6 oz/175 green olives, stoned/pitted & rinsed well in cold water
  • garlic croûtons to garnish:
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ a small french bread loaf, cut in thin slices
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped


Cut the chicken in 6 pieces. Season with salt & pepper & brown on all sides in oil in a heavy - based frying pan. Lower the heat and add the onion, cooking until pale golden. Pour the cognac over the chicken, light it, and when the flame dies down, transfer everything to a large flame - proof marmite or casserole. Add wine, herbs & tomatoes. Wine should just cover the chicken. Cover and cook over a low heat until chicken is tender (about 2 ½ hours).

In the meantime, make the garlic croûtons. Leave the garlic in the olive oil for about 1 hour. Then dip a pastry brush into the oil & brush across both sides of each slice of bread. Grill bread until brown & then toss in parsley. (The croûtons can be used to garnish stews, soups & salads).

minutes before the chicken has finished cooking, sauté mushroom for 3 mins in a little oil, then transfer them with juices to casserole. Cook uncovered for rest of time to reduce slightly. When cooked, remove chicken & mushroom & keep warm on serving dish. Skim fat from sauce and strain it into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down heat, add olives & simmer for 5 mins. Adjust seasoning, spoon sauces & olives over chicken & scatter hot home-made croûtons on top.