I love having yearly Sister Visits. She is a teacher in Northern California, which means when she flies to NJ in the summertime, it's for an extended period of time. We share a love of food and trying out new dishes. This summer, she brought along this recipe, created by the owner of Barbacco, a trattoria in San Francisco.
Lots of garlic, to be simmered in olive oil
Bright green Castelvetrano olives
Toasted Marcona almonds
Savory elements of the braising liquid
Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Almonds
by Staffan Terje of Barbacco
20 garlic cloves peeled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil as needed
1 yellow onion cut into medium dice
1 lemon, cut in quarters
2 medium-size rosemary sprigs
4 cups low-salt chicken broth, reduced to 2 cups (or 2 cups double strength broth)
1 cup dry white wine
1 large bunch swiss chard, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pits removed and halved*
½ cup Marcona almonds, toasted and chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon unslated butter
Place garlic cloves in a small saucepan along with the extra virgin olive oil. Cook over low heat until soft, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Remove cloves and set aside, reserve the oil.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place skillet large enough to hold all 8 thighs over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place chicken thighs in skillet, skin side down and cook over medium until skin is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Turn thighs and cook for another 2 minutes. Reserve oil and chicken drippings in the skillet as you move the thighs to a deep baking dish large enough to hold them in a singled layer; set aside.
Add onion, lemon and rosemary to the now empty skillet. Brown gently over medium-low heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape up and incorporate the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until onions are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Add chicken broth and white wine, and bring to a simmer. Pour over chicken thighs and place in oven. Braise until juices run clear and chicken is done, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour reserved garlicky olive oil into the skillet. Turn heat to medium. Add swiss chard with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender- about 2-3 minutes.
Place chard on a warm serving platter. Remove thighs from braising liquid and place on the chard. Lightly tent with foil to keep warm. Remove rosemary and lemon wedges from braising liquid, and discard. Pour braising liquid into a sauce pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until 1½ cups remain. Add the reserved garlic cloves, olives and almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the butter, then spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve hot.
*To pit whole olives, place them in a heavy plastic bag. Use a heavy skillet to gently crush the olives, which makes it easier to pit them.