Passover comes in the spring, but there is often still a chill in the evening air as families and friends gather in their homes for Seder dinners. A richly flavored and warming meal is still very welcome at this time of year.
Tender chicken thighs can sit for an extra bit of time in the oven without drying out, which is handy for a meal that often can’t be timed precisely. A sauce dense with onions, lemon and olives also keeps the meat moist, and hits nice notes of savory, sweet, tart and salty. A bit of hot sauce keeps it lively. If you have a huge pan you can double the recipe, or just make two pans’ worth for a bigger group.
You could serve this right from the pan, or move the cooked chicken to a plate for a moment, transfer the onions and olives and all of the wonderful sauce to a shallow serving platter, and then place the chicken back on top. Serve with a big bowl of mashed potatoes, or maybe even polenta, depending on your tradition.
On occasions other than Passover, plenty of other starches, from fregola to couscous, would also be perfect.
CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ONIONS AND GREEN OLIVES
Serves 4 to 6
Start to finish: 1 hour 40 minutes
3 pounds chicken thighs (about 6 to 8)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 / 2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 / 4teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup pitted green olives, halved
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 / 4cup minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Pat the chicken dry. Combine the salt, cumin, paprika, pepper and allspice. Rub the spice mixture evenly onto the thighs, on both sides.
Heat the oil in a very large, deep, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, and then transfer them to a paper-towel-lined surface. Do this in batches if necessary.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes until they are very soft and browned, but do not allow them to get too dark; adjust the heat as necessary. You can add a tablespoon of water from time to time if they appear to be getting too brown.
Stir in the broth, olives, hot sauce and lemon wedges. Return all of the chicken to the pan, skin side up, nestling the pieces into the sauce. Cover the pan, place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and tender and the skin is crisped.
Sprinkle with the parsley before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 439 calories; 242 calories from fat; 27 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 114 mg cholesterol; 1577 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 27 g protein.