Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives

by formerchef on April 12, 2011

Post image for Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives

One of the questions people frequently ask me is “do you cook every night?” The short answer is “no” but what I really want to say is “define cook.” We certainly don’t eat out every night and even when I don’t cook a full meal, there’s almost always something to forage from the refrigerator rather than eat fast food. Sometimes dinner is a mixture of home cooked and store bought. And speaking of fast food, while I haven’t eaten anything from a large chain fast food place in over 2 years, we often go to our local Vietnamese, Thai and Mexican places which dish up a pretty darn fast bun cha, tom kha gai, or burrito mojado. That’s my idea of fast food now.

When I do cook dinner at home, it’s often something quick because, like many people, I work a full time job with a long commute. The last thing I want to do when I get home is make a multicourse meal which takes hours to complete. This dish fits into my “Easy Weeknight Meals” tag, because start to table it takes about 30-40 minutes. There’s not a lot of prep work and while the chicken is cooking you can make the sides (cous cous is one of the fastest side dishes ever!) and a vegetable to go with it. In addition, the dish is pretty forgiving in that if you need to hold it for a late dinner arrival, you can keep it in a warm oven, covered (just add a little extra chicken stock so that all the sauce does not reduce away).

I recently made this dish for my husband who loved it and said “it just tastes healthy.” I think it’s the sweetness of the sherry and the Meyer lemons plus the freshness of the herbs he was talking about. Plus he loves garlic, and the cloves, left in big chunks, get surprisingly mellow when cooked in the braising liquid. I served this over cous cous with quickly sauteed chard and beet greens from my garden.

Tell me, how many times a week do you cook at home and what are some of your favorite quick meals to make?

Recipe for Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Olives
Printable Recipe in PDF

1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5-2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
2 each Meyer lemons, one juiced, one sliced in rounds
1/2 cup (2.75 oz wt.) green olives, pitted
5 each garlic cloves, cut in half
1/3 cup sherry wine
1 cup chicken stock
fresh thyme and oregano (about .25 oz total), chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (optional, see below).

Put the chicken pieces on a plate and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and black pepper.

Heat a large cast iron frying pan until hot and then add the olive oil. A cast iron pan isn’t necessary if you don’t have one; a regular heavy bottomed frying pan will work fine. Place the chicken in the pan (on what would have been) skin side down and cook for about 2 minutes until browned on that side. Turn the pieces over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sherry and the garlic cloves and let the sherry reduce by about 50%. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and green olives. Sprinkle half of the chopped herbs on top along with the lemon slices and then cover with a lid.

At this point you can reduce the heat to low and cook on the stovetop or place the pan in the oven. I prefer the oven because it provides a more even temperature and cooking process. Cook covered for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Remove the lid and if desired, cook for a few minutes more, allowing the sauce to slightly reduce.

Serves 4.

1 Kathy - Panini Happy April 12, 2011 at 7:24 am

Love these bold flavors, this dish sounds fantastic.

2 Kate @ Savour Fare April 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’ve made something similar with preserved lemons in the pressure cooker, which made the whole thing even quicker. Love the sherry, though. What a great touch!

3 formerchef April 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Kate-I don’t have a pressure cooker. For some reason they’ve always intimidated me, but I’m going to have to look into that.

4 Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace April 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This looks so amazing! I love the flavor combination of lemon and olives, so this dish looks very appealing to me 🙂 My favorite dish to make is a warm white bean salad with rosemary and garlic. The recipe is in How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Fast and full of great flavor.

5 formerchef April 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Anything with white beans, rosemary and garlic is a good thing!

6 Charles G Thompson April 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

This looks great. I’m a fan of all those ingredients, and I’m with your husband re garlic — the more the merrier. Your fast food is my fast food: neighborhood ethnic places have replaced national chains for many years now. I think my quick fix dinner staple is pasta as it’s so easy to create a meal out of whatever is in the refrigerator.

7 Angela@spinachtiger April 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Looks wonderful. I have just gotten an appreciation of chicken thighs and now they are often our one-dish meal.

8 Lael Hazan @educatedpalate April 13, 2011 at 8:10 am

The aroma of the olives, lemon, and chicken seems to come through even my computer screen. Lovely post and dish, even though I must admit I’m not a fan of olives. Still…. Giuliano made me chicken and olives for the first dish he ever cooked for me and I did marry him so…..
We eat home almost every night and I cook while Giuliano is away. Last evening we made pesto. Perhaps our “weekly” must do dish is the easy but delicious tomato with butter and onion sauce.

9 Zpc April 16, 2011 at 1:26 am

As a resident of a part of the world where the famed meyer lemons do not exist, I have to ask the usual question: would this work with the ordinary kind? Because it looks good, but if the special lemons are essential then 🙁

10 formerchef April 16, 2011 at 6:56 am

Yes, you can do this with regular lemons because I think they will mellow with the braising. Look for ones with a thinner skin if you can, rather than thick. You might also try 1 lemon, sliced and the juice of half an orange (instead of the lemon juice).

11 zpc April 16, 2011 at 7:51 am

Great! Thank you.

12 Alessandro June 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I used 1 sliced lemon and a whole (small) orange, and it worked great. Really nice recipe. And it did taste healthy.

13 formerchef June 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Great modification! Thanks for letting me know.

14 Sarah - A Beach Home Companion April 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm

This is all the flavors I love–I’m saving this recipe! I’ll probably switch out the couscous for pasta; I use any excuse to eat more pasta.

15 Jenn @LeftoverQueen April 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

This is a fantastic looking dish! I love cooking chicken thighs, and using a cast iron skillet is the only way to go, for me!

16 Cooking contests May 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I was sold on this dish on the picture alone. Beautiful recipe – thanks for sharing!

take care,
— Chelsey

17 Tyler May 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

What did you add to your couscous? It looks like some kind of vegtable and herbs.

18 formerchef May 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

It’s funny you should ask about that. As I was cooking the meal, I realized I didn’t have enough cous cous. I sent my husband to the store to buy some and he came home with a package mix which included an herb and veg mix instead of just plain cous cous. It’s not what I wanted, but I really didn’t have a choice. I wouldn’t use it again either because it was way too salty.

19 Linda May 15, 2011 at 6:23 am

This looks absolutely delicious AND healthy and I can’t wait to make it. I love your website! The pictures are beautiful and the recipes are amazing.

20 Barbara | Creative Culinary December 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I’ll tell you what…I wish I had this tonight! I’ve grown fond of using boneless chicken thighs and the next time I have some this will be made.

You sound a bit like me but now that my kids are grown and on their own and I just feed me unless I’m having company, I will fix a nice mean maybe once a week and then use that food as the basis for several meals. I’m not a fast food person per se but I like a local place where a take out of pad thai will be good for two meals and if nothing else. I have had Cheerios for dinner. Sometimes not having to worry about anyone else allows me the luxury of not bothering with anything at all!

21 Argie April 16, 2012 at 12:12 am

This is good for my my family and good for our dinner. I need to go to the market to get fresh ingredients. My husband will surely ask again my name after dinner. 🙂

22 Rhonda November 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

We made this tonight and it was fabulous. We switched out the green olives for castelvetrano and added butter to the sauce to finish it. Paired nicely with Prosecco!!

23 Kathleen July 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Can you suggest any “substitute” for the olives? My husband and both loathe them and I’m afraid the sight of them would put us off. I realize it won’t be the same dish, but the rest sounded so good! I was thinking capers for the briny effect, tho I’d worry about them maybe being too strong and losing the texture. Perhaps capers and some small button mushrooms to mimic the shape of the olives? Thanks for any ideas.

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