No matter how much experience you have in the kitchen, it’s always fun to take a cooking class. When planning our time in Lucca I knew a class in our apartment would be the perfect way to spend an evening. As informative as it might be to have a lesson with a restaurant chef, I thought it might be more interesting to learn from a few local “home cooks”. Our time with them was everything that I had hoped for and the recipes they taught were typical of the area. I loved the simplicity of the recipes and the ease of preparation and yet the dishes were so full of flavor.
Now that I’m back at home I couldn’t wait to make the chicken that we had for our entree. It’s made with thighs, probably my favorite part of the bird to prepare. If you prefer white meat, go ahead and make this with chicken breasts-just be sure which ever use, that it’s bone in.
Chicken with Lemon, Olives and Aromatic Herbs
10 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed
3 lemons, rind cut off
5 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh sage, about 20 leaves
Fresh rosemary, 5 large sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil
White wine, about 3/4 cup
Chicken broth, about 3/4 cup
Black olives-a handful (Italian or Nicoise)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place chicken thighs in a bowl. Slice lemons into thin slices and add to bowl with chicken pieces and toss together. Let marinate together for about 1/2 hour.
Finely chop rosemary and sage leaves together. Cover bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil over low heat. Add chopped herbs and saute for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and saute until softened. Turn the heat up and add chicken thighs (reserve lemon slices) and brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Add the wine and reduce until it’s almost evaporated. Add chicken broth to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low and add lemon slices and olives. Cover pan and cook for about 30-40 minutes.
Uncover and if there’s a lot of liquid left, reduce to thicken sauce. We ate this with a saute of red, yellow and green peppers with shallots, tomato puree and chopped basil. Last night I also served fresh peas with a little onion to complete our meal.