Tuscan chicken

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookery books ‘Pan cooked chicken dishes around the world’. It’s a bit of an old fashioned cookery book –  by which I mean it’s not authored by any celebrity chef – which I bought it years ago from a charity shop. The other week I was amazed to see another copy in a charity shop and immediately snapped it up as a present for a friend who had once borrowed my copy.

The recipes are fairly straightforward and often quite quick because everything is cooked on the hob –  and chicken doesn’t take that long to cook anyway. Chicken is a staple ‘cheap, fresh and easy dish’ because it is so versatile and affordable – I plan to cook some more recipes from this book.

Many recipes for Tuscan chicken feature creamy sauces but this has a tomato-based sauce with a strong lemon, garlic and rosemary flavour. In the summer I make this recipe with fresh tomatoes but I used half tinned, half fresh tomatoes here. I also used free range, organic chicken thighs which are good value and have a lovely deep flavour.

This recipe is better the longer you can marinate the chicken – it needs to be left for at least an hour.

I’ve adapted this recipe slightly from the original.

Serves 2.é

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • Half teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 sprig rosemary – finely chop the leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Tin of tomatoes or four large fresh tomatoes (or a combination of both)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 150 mls white wine
  • 50g stone black olives
  • 2 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a pestle and mortar pound together the garlic, rosemary, peppercorns and the lemon zest. Stir in half the olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  2. Score a few shallow lines in the chicken with a sharp knife and rub in the marinate. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for a few hours, or at least one hour.
  3. Score the skin of the tomatoes and pour over boiling water. When cool peel off the skin and chop roughly.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the chicken (in batches if you are multiplying this recipe for more people). Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and add the tomatoes and tomato purée. Add the wine, stir well and bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes, tasting halfway and adjusting seasoning if necessary.
  5. Add the capers and olives and cook to warm through for about five minutes.

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