This is one of those throw together recipes that turned out surprisingly well. I had a few things on hand: orange juice, lemons, green olives, chicken legs, saffron. The resulting dish wasn’t sweet, despite the orangey base. It was more of a sweet and sour balance. Served atop fluffy quinoa, and perhaps with a side salad or veg, this meal satisfies without weighing you down. In other words, a perfect dish to welcome spring.
Citrus Chicken With Green Olives and Saffron
Yield: About 4 servings. Recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
- 1 pound chicken legs or thighs, skin removed
- Neutral cooking fat of choice (butter, neutral oil, etc)
- 4 cups orange juice (2 for the marinade, 2 for the sauce)
- Juice of two lemons lemon (juice of one for the marinade, one for the sauce)
- 1/2 cup of pitted green olives, cut into chunks and rinsed to remove excess salt
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 generous pinches of saffron
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley or chives (for garnish, optional)
- 2 cups of quinoa, and 4 cups of water
1. Marinate chicken in 2 cups of orange juice, the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 2 of the garlic cloves. Cover, and refrigerate for at least half an hour, or even up to two days.
2. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Heat neutral cooking fat of choice over medium in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Add to cooking fat (carefully), once cooking fat is hot.
3. Allow chicken to cook about three minutes on each side, enough to get a nice brown color.
4. Add 2 cups of orange juice, garlic, olives, juice of the second lemon, and saffron to the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. (Can cover pan if you wish; the recipe works with pan either covered or uncovered, so don’t stress about that detail).
5. As the chicken cooks, cook quinoa according the package directions. (Usually takes about 25 minutes total).
6. Taste chicken sauce for seasoning. Adjust if needed. If sauce seems too dry, add a bit more water or orange juice to liquify. Remember, the olives are salty, so you MUST taste the sauce first before adding any salt. My guess is that you won’t need to add any salt.
7. Serve over quinoa, and garnish with green herbs or chives if desired.