Chicken Provencal

A hearty, plucky dish from the Provence countryside, this is the French answer to Italy's chicken cacciatore. Olives, Provence herbs like rosemary and thyme, and tomatoes are key to the bold punchy flavours of this classic stew. While it may be tempting to use pitted olives, try to resist. Olives, once seeded, lose their potency.

And, as with all stews, this is infinitely more flavoursome when kept overnight to allow all the flavours to thoroughly infuse into the meat. So, if prepping for a large dinner party, this is one dish that can be done the night before, so you can free up time to cook the other dishes.

Ingredients (feeds 4-5):
5 chicken thighs (portion about 1 thigh per pax)
1 medium yellow onion, diced to 1cm cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow capsicum, diced to 1" cubes
10 olives (I used Liguria olives of the purple and green varieties for maximum flavour)
1/2 cup red/wine/rose wine (leave this out if catering from the alcohol-intolerant)
1 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp dried rosemary
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plucked (dried thyme is usable in a pinch)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup marinara sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1) Brown chicken in pan, about 10 minutes. Salt liberally. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Set aside.

2) Using 2 tbsp of chicken fat renderings, fry onion and garlic on medium heat till fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3) Add wine till almost reduced completely, about 2 minutes.I used a chardonnay; I already had an opened bottle in the fridge and wanted to finish it up.

4) Add tomatoes and marinara sauce.

5) Add chicken stock, rosemary and thyme.

6) Return chicken to pan. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 40 minutes, till fall-off-the-bone tender.

7) In last 10 minutes, add olives.

8) And add capsicums.

9) Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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