Main Course,  Recipes

Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives

Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives
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 to 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 (couscous 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 couscous 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?


Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives

Sherry Braised Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemons and Green Olives
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: chicken
Servings: 4 Servings


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


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan, cast iron if you have it, and add the oil. Gently add the chicken thighs to the pan.
  • Turn the thighs over and add the sherry wine to the pan, along with the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken stock.
  • Add the lemon slices, sliced garlic, olives, and chopped herbs to the pan and place in the oven. Cook until the chicken is done, at 160°, about 15 more minutes.
  • Serve over couscous or rice with some freshly sauteed greens.


Chicken-If you'd like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, that works too! You may need to adjust the cooking time to be a little longer. Just make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Olives- my favorite green olives are Italian and called Castelvetrano (link to Amazon for an example).
Chicken Stock- If you don't have any chicken stock on hand, a good substitute is something called "Better Than Bouillon" which you can keep in your refrigerator.



    • formerchef

      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.

  • Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace

    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.

  • Charles G Thompson

    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.

  • Lael Hazan @educatedpalate

    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.

  • Zpc

    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 🙁

    • formerchef

      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.

  • Linda

    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.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    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!

  • Argie

    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. 🙂

  • Rhonda

    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!!

  • Kathleen

    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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