Mediterranean Chicken – Juicy chicken thighs pan-seared and coated with a balsamic and herb glaze and roasted with artichokes, cherry tomatoes, basil, and California Ripe Olives.
My month started with travel to Italy, stopping first for a day in Los Angeles, where I met up with family to EAT. Of course, food was a major part of the Italian experience and I did not deny myself a thing (um, hello, gelato every single day). Then my month ended with a business (press) trip to Phoenix which was bookended with a trip to Boise. I think I calculated it out that between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm while in Phoenix, I ate every 90 minutes to 2 hours.
The 10 days I was home, I ate well (the word well is used lightly here, fully open to interpretation and scrutiny.) I am not complaining about a single calorie or fat gram I consumed during my June travels. And most of my clothes still fit, or relatively fit anyway.
But now my summer travels are changing course. Next week I travel to Idaho for my youngest brothers’ wedding (hello dress) and then in August, I travel to California for my cousins’ BEACH wedding (hello dress with even less material.) Therefore, I need to shift my eating just a tad in order to rock those dresses.
Getting back on track nutritionally is as simple as eating protein and fruits and vegetables. Over the years I have learned that my gastric bypass diet tends to be similar to the diabetic diet and even the Mediterranean diet. Of course there are differences in those diets to my own, but typically they are great examples for me to follow.
I will forgo my heavy pasta and cream sauce (and gelato) love in favor to lean meats, fresh veggies, and those fats that are good for me like extra virgin olive oil and, well olives. Ok, some cheese too, I must have cheese. On both my recent trips to Italy and Phoenix, I was education about the health benefits of olives, so I felt there was no time like the present to incorporate them more into my diet. How do you like my first meal in my gotta-look-good-in-both-dresses meal plan? Just because I need to eat healthy (and not just for the dresses but for life too), does not mean I have to eat bland. And if you have been reading along for any amount of time here at The Complete Savorist, you know I am not about bland food.
Chicken thighs, while a bit fattier than its more popular northern body part neighbor, pack so much more flavor and are often my go-to meat when truly exercising portion control (plus my doctor told me to eat thighs over breasts anyway.) I did a quick sear in olive oil to brown them up, tossed in some artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and California Ripe Olives, brushed it all with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs–salt and pepper too, but that’s always a given. Finally I added torn pieces of basil, popped it in the oven to roast and 25 minutes later, out it all came.
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs; bone-in/skin-on (about 6 thighs)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or 1 tbsp evoo and 1 tbsp butter)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1-12 oz pkg frozen artichokes
- 1-5.75 oz can of large California Black Ripe Olives; drained
- Pinch or two of kosher salt for finishing
- 6-8 leaves of fresh basil; torn
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
Whisk together all the ingredients, set aside.
In a 12" skillet, heat the olive oil (or butter and evoo) and heat on medium high
Pull back the skin, sprinkle salt and pepper to the flesh, replace the skin, and salt/pepper both sides.
Place the thighs in the pan, fleshy-side down and sear for about 3 minutes or until the chicken is a nice golden brown color.
Flip the chicken and sear the other side for another 3 minutes.
Do over-crowd the pan, so cook the chicken in shifts if needed.
Remove from heat.
Toss together the artichokes, California Ripe Olives, and tomatoes, and nestle them around the chicken.
Pull back the skin again on the chicken and brush with the sauce, then brush the outside of the chicken and all the veggies, making sure everything is evenly coated.
Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (Cooking time will vary based size of chicken and actual temp of oven. For smaller thighs, begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes to avoid overcooking.)
Once cooked, remove from the oven and sprinkle everything with a pinch or two of kosher salt.
Serve and enjoy.
The dish was truly tasty. The chicken and veggies were scrumptious, and loaded with flavor. That pinch of salt after cooking is important as I did not over salt the dish when cooking and it made each individual flavor pop. The olives were hot after coming out of the oven, so please resist the temptation to put them on your fingers like you did when you were a kid. You might want to have an extra can on hand for that.
I mentioned I received my own olive education while in Italy and in Phoenix, you can enter to win a prize pack from California Ripe Olives to enjoy the tasty flavors of this season and beyond. Enter here! How do you plan to use California Ripe Olives in your next dish?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.