This dish employs spices and flavours that I associate with Greece and southern Italy, with oregano, lemon, orange, tomato, bay leaves, fennel, wine, cinnamon and garlic marrying beautifully as the chicken wet-roasts (it's not quite a braise). Serve with buttered small pasta or cous cous, and greens or a leafy salad.
100ml extra virgin olive oil
8-10 chicken chops, skin on, bone in
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
4 eschalots (French shallots), peeled and thickly sliced
10 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 fresh bay leaves
3 tsp fennel seeds
1½ tbsp dried oregano, preferably Greek
250ml white wine
juice of 1 orange
peeled rind of ½ orange
2 strips lemon peel
2 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
1½ tsp chilli flakes
12 olives, black or green
1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional).
2. Heat half the oil in an ovenproof casserole pan (a Dutch oven or the like) over high heat. Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Seal the chicken in batches over high heat, skin-side down, for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
3. Once all the chicken has been sealed, remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan with the eschalots and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes to soften a little, then add the bay leaves and fennel seeds. Return the chicken to the pan and follow with the oregano, wine, orange juice and orange and lemon peel. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the tomato, cinnamon, chilli flakes and 100ml water. Scatter over the olives and bring to a simmer.
4. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then remove the lid and increase the heat to 220C (240C conventional). Cook for 20 minutes to reduce the liquid a little.
5. Serve with small, buttered pasta, such as orzo or pastina, or cous cous. If you want the sauce thicker, remove the chicken and reduce on the stove over high heat before returning the chicken to the pan to serve.