Olive Chicken

This being such a quick recipe, I just took a quick snap-flash picture... so quick in fact, it looks like I didn't take the time to change the colour space from my default printing colour space so it looks kind of muddy. It looks (and smells and tastes) much better in real life!

This incredibly delicious dish is even more incredibly easy to prepare. All you’ll need to buy is two or three ingredients, fry them in olive oil, and add two spices and that you probably have sitting on the shelf. It takes only about an hour from cutting board to table!

My family is made up of a veritable goulash of characters and personality types but the one thing we all have in common is a love for olives. For as long as I can remember, Santa Claus has put a small jar of the little pimento-stuffed guys in my Christmas stocking, and he still does!

I stumbled upon an olive chicken recipe years ago and was tickled pink that I was finally able to eat olives as part of a main course. The original recipe, which I lost eons ago, was much more involved but this stripped-down version that I came up with myself is, in my humble but biased opinion, even better.

Warning: This recipe involves olives, which are part of the “love ’em or hate ’em food group” along with yogourt and liver. If you’ve never liked olives, this recipe will not magically transform them into something that will be ignored by your gag reflexes.

  • 4 chicken breasts (or an entire small or medium chicken), diced.
  • 700 grams (2 pints) of sliced or quartered mushrooms.
  • 500 ml to 1 litre (2 to 4 cups) of olives. It’s important which type you use… get a variety that is marinated in an oily brine. I get either Sicilian or Calabrese marinated with herbs from my grocer’s bulk olive bins. Don’t purposely bring home extra brine… the flavour of the olives themselves will light up the chicken. Don’t use the pimento-stuffed jobs or any other pure brine ones. I tried Kalamata olives once but the dish didn’t turn out so great and they turned the meat a gross dark colour. You’ll probably have to remove the pits — the easiest way to do this is with a cherry pitter.
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder.
  • black pepper, to taste.
  • olive oil for frying.
  • Brown the peppered chicken in a large pot with lots of olive oil.
  • Add the curry powder, toss, and fry for a minute or two stirring occasionally.
  • Add the olives and fry for a minute, stirring a couple of times. Add a cup of water and scrape anything that might be sticking off the bottom of the pot.
  • Mix in the mushrooms and cover. Reduce the heat so is cooks at a medium simmer.
  • Simmer for about 45 minutes until the mushrooms are done and the sauce is reduced (the cooking mushrooms will release a lot of water), checking about every 15 minutes to make sure it doesn’t cook dry.

That’s it! Serve on Basmati rice.

  • Add fresh or frozen green beans during the last 10 minutes.
  • Experiment by adding your favourite herbs.
  • Instead of water, add a little wine to the pot when you put the olives in.
  • Add a couple of dried Chinese red peppers when you add the olives.
  • Leave out the mushrooms for “Olive Chicken Express”… add a cup of wine or chicken stock after the olives have been sauteed together for a minute or two. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, checking regularly to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.

That’s it… hope you enjoy it!

Note: If you happen to use my recipe commercially, I want a large chunk of change… preferably an amount I can retire on. Either that or a stupidly high paying do-nothing job, like the restaurant owner’s relative who sits at the table closest to the cash register and does nothing all day but drink coffee and eats the occasional meal.

That’s it! If you try this recipe, please let me know how things turned out. You can download a print-friendly PDF version of this recipe here. You can find links to other of my recipes and printable “Eat Sheets” here.

About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

13 responses to “Olive Chicken

  • clownonfire

    I should tell you.
    A Fair warning.
    Next time you’re in Montreal, you’re cooking us lunch.
    The Clown

    • HoaiPhai

      Deal! I’ll even spring for the ingredients but you have to provide at least one bottle of Boreale Rousse (they don’t sell it here).

      I suggest that you look for Sicilian olives in Provigo’s scoop-and-package-it-yourself olive table… I think that’s where we used to get them. And if you are an olive fiend, do invest in a cherry pitter (but it won’t work obn the really big olives).

  • Carl D'Agostino

    Do same with fish fillets but top with thin tomato slices instead of mushrooms.

    • HoaiPhai

      Do you use curry powder? If not, your recipe has only olives as a common ingredient with olive chicken. Nice try but I’m not splitting the royalties that will be flowing in from the licensing deals. You are, however, invited to sit across from me at that little table beside the cash. I’ll take a photo of you sketching me!

      By the way, I’ve been meaning to try this out as “Olive Lamb”.

  • ceceliafutch

    Sounds delicious! So does Carl’s!! I’m printing this out and trying it this week, for sure!!! thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • HoaiPhai

      Oh, it’s great! One of the problem we had moving to Niagara was that we couldn’t find suitable olives (thus the failed Kalamata attempt).

      Do you like Indian food? Do you like lentils? “Monsoor Dahl” goes well with olive chicken and I’m planning on posting the recipe for that, but the recipe is more involved.

      Thanks for mentioning printing out the recipe… you’ve reminded me to test out making PDFs so people can download a file that is more printer-friendly or could be stored in one’s recipe folder on their computer. I’ll try to test it out before noon today (Sunday).

    • HoaiPhai

      Sorry it’s a day late but I’ve just made up an “Eats Sheet”, a downloadable and printable PDF of the recipe.

      Please download it from here and let me know if the document works on your computer and if the recipe works on your stove!

  • nigel

    love olives, hate mushrooms.. but… 1 litre!

    • HoaiPhai

      The quantities are negotiable. I love olives and am already on cholesterol medicine so I tend to go with the higher olive content version. Without the mushrooms you can use less olives because there will be less other stuff to absorb all the olive salt, plus you won’t have to cook it for very long!

  • elmediat

    Looks very good. Way back when I would make sweet & sour pineapple and chicken livers. Quite the taste surprise.

    • HoaiPhai

      If you like olives and can find the right olives, this is a great recipe. Try a halving the recipe first time out so you’re not wasting a whole lot of money if you don’t like it.

    • HoaiPhai

      This recipe has become a family standard and whenever my wife’s relatives in Korea come for a return visit, the almost invariably ask that we whip up a batch. If olives aren’t your thing, cook other stuff that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of mixing with meat like fruit… I really want to try an experimental mango and chicken stir-fry. I’ve never seen it anywhere but the combo could work!

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