Try to source quality free-range chicken, if possible. The flavour will be great and well worth the effort – and, ideally, you won't need to use chicken stock. Serve with a simple fennel and orange salad and cous cous or rice.
60ml extra virgin olive oil
8 free-range chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
1½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sweet paprika
30g Italian parsley leaves, chopped
30g coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches saffron, steeped in 30ml boiling water
2 large red onions, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
500ml boiling water (or chicken stock if you prefer a deeper chicken flavour)
400g large green olives, pitted
juice of 2 lemons
coriander to garnish
1. Place a casserole dish with 30ml olive oil over a medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon salt and sear in the hot oil in two batches (adding a bit more oil for second batch, if necessary) to brown the skin – about seven minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Discard all oil and wipe out pan.
2. Using a mortar and pestle (or a blender), crush the garlic, ginger, pepper, cumin, paprika, parsley, coriander and ½ teaspoon salt into a paste with the three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and saffron water.
3. Place remaining 30ml olive oil in the casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion and spice paste and cook gently, stirring regularly, for 5-10 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Stir in the chicken thighs so that they are coated in the spice mix. Continue stirring while slowly adding the boiling water (or chicken stock). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the casserole and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Add the olives, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Remove from heat and rest, uncovered, for five minutes. At this stage, you can remove the chicken and reduce the sauce if it's a little too watery.
5. Place chicken on plates, spoon over olives and sauce, garnish with coriander and serve.