Life has been hectic! Fall quarter started up for Graduate School and it has been a very busy time – both with travel and assignments – at work. I haven’t actually been home to cook much; however, when I have been home, I keep making this recipe. My sister-in-law and I even made this chicken dish with a fragrant rice and salad for my in-laws after a long flight. They enjoyed it as much as I do.
This recipe is from the book Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. It is one of several recipes that has made me rethink how I cook a family meal. I wrote more about this cookbook and another excellent set of recipes in this post. You could serve this over rice, Israeli Couscous, Quinoa or any grain that can absorb the delicious sauce!
Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro
2 T + 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. minced onion
2 tsp. minced ginger
2″ piece cinnamon
a few strands saffron & some turmeric
2 c. chicken stock (homemade would be great)
2 T. canola oil
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
2 T. minced green olives (no pimientos)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 500F. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add onion, ginger, cinnamon, saffron & turmeric, plus a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, roughly 5 minutes. Add stock & increase heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, until reduced by roughly 3/4s and becomes syrupy. Remove from heat.
Heat canola oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook undisturbed until lightly brown, 5-8 minutes. Turn over and cook on other side 3-4 minutes. Press an ovenproof,heavy skillet on top of chicken breasts so that they are being smooched between the two pans. Place chicken in “skillet sandwich” in the oven. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven, and test to see if juices run clear.
Right before chicken is done, finish the sauce. Sitr in remaining 1 tsp olive oil, olives, a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice. Remove cinnamon stick. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and cilantro.
Serve chicken over a bed of rice with sauce spooned both around and over it.