Chicken a la Clare

I belong to a group of friends who have been meeting for over ten years to catch up and watch movies. It’s a potluck, and we each take turns providing the main course. This past year, when it was my turn to provide the main, I wanted to make a simple chicken dish to accommodate the food allergies suffered by one of the other members of the party, Clare.

I checked with her to confirm safe ingredients and, somehow, ‘olive oil’ got mistaken for ‘olives,’ which Clare loves. I decided to run with it. I had wanted to bake the chicken with spinach and tomatoes already, and thought green olives had the right flavor to complement the dish.

I tested it on my family, and we loved it, but I wasn’t prepared for its popularity at our movie day. I was asked for my recipe, which of course meant I had to actually write one down 😉

I usually make this one day ahead, as I find that the flavor is better if served one day later, warmed at 300 degrees for an hour or until hot.

I’m sharing below, named in honor of my friend. I hope you enjoy the results!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chicken a la Clare
Copyright 2015 by Lauren Bradford (aka The Food Puzzler)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

~ 6-8 chicken pieces, bone-in, skin-on and of fairly equal thickness
~ 2 bag frozen spinach
~ 2 cups, 1 box or 1-28oz can chopped tomatoes
~ 1-12 oz bottle Manzilla green olives
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ 1/2 teaspoon pepper
~ 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
~ 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
~ up to 2 tbsp olive oil

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small container, place the dried seasonings and mix to combine. Rub these spices under the skin of the chicken pieces.

2. In a frying pan, coat with a small amount of the oil. You don’t want more than a coating, you’re using this pan to sear the chicken. Heat the pan to medium-high heat, place the chicken skin-side down on the pan and let the sizzle begin!

Keep the chicken skin-side down until it comes up with a nice brown crust, which adds great flavor to those who love the skin, great overall appearance to the chicken, and helps keep the chicken extra moist. (I sometimes speed up this process by wrapping an unvarnished, unpainted brick in foil and placing it on top of the chicken to weight it down and get more even coverage and crusting.)

3. In a roasting pan large enough for the chicken pieces to be evenly spaced without touching, distribute the spinach, tomatoes and olives.

4. Nestle the chicken on top of the mixture. Cover with parchment first and then foil, and cook at 350 degrees F until the thickest pieces of chicken reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Served with warm, crusty bread or rice makes for a hearty meal on a cool night!

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