Flavor in a pot.
Braising may sound fancy. It’s not. It is, however, a fantastic way to cook chicken. Braising yields fall-off-the-bone tender meat infused with whatever flavors you add to the pan. This recipe for braised lemon chicken with olives and dates hits all the flavor notes: tangy, salty, sweet. The result is a new favorite chicken dinner recipe that practically cooks itself.
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I have been looking for a new chicken dinner recipe for a while. Is chicken overused? Probably. But chicken makes a great dinner. It’s a lean protein that is endlessly adaptable and easy to cook.
So I loved the idea of finding a new way to adapt this dinner workhorse in a way that was uncomplicated but full of flavor. Here, quickly brown chicken legs in a pan. Then, add white wine, lemon, dates, olives, and seasoning. This creates a flavorful braising liquid for the chicken, and simmers until the meat is cooked and tender, then served and smothered in pan sauce.
Recipe Notes: Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates
- Embrace bone-in chicken legs: thighs and drumsticks. Technically, you could use boneless chicken thighs, but leaving the bone in will create the best possible flavor and texture. You could, however, use all bone-in chicken thighs if you do not like drumsticks.
- If you do not have a braiser, use a wide, shallow skillet with a lid. The skillet should be wide enough to nestle the chicken in a single layer. The idea is to have the lid close to the meat, which creates a moist convection heat that circulates within the pot.
Did you make this Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates recipe? How was it?
Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates
- 3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)
- all-purpose flour, to dredge
- 2/3 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more as needed
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 whole lemon)
- zest of one lemon
- 2/3 cup pitted dates, halved lengthwise
- 2 bay leaves
- kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Pat the chicken dry and generously sprinkle with one rounded teaspoon of kosher salt and some fresh pepper. Lightly dredge the top of each chicken leg in all-purpose flour. Shake off any excess flour.PRO TIP: Dry the chicken well. This will prevent it from spattering when added to the hot oil.
- Heat the braising pan or a wide skillet over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Test the oil by adding a small pinch of flour to the oil when it shimmers. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Add the first few chicken legs, dredged-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for an additional two minutes.
- Place the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate and repeat until all the chicken has been browned. Add additional oil if necessary.
- Pour the oil from the pan, taking care to leave on any browned bits. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, vinegar, and lemon juice, scraping off the tasty stuck bits. Add the garlic, bay leaves, zest, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt. Stir and let boil for one minute.
- Turn heat to low. Add the chicken in a single layer and sprinkle with the dates and olives. The liquid should be less than halfway up the sides of the chicken.
- Cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the meat pulls right off the bone. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or individual plates. Reduce the liquid a bit and taste for seasoning. You may need a bit more salt. Let the liquid reduce until you have a sauce. Spoon over the chicken and serve immediately with rice or couscous.