Tuesday, October 13, 2009

African-Spiced Chicken with Green Olive Sauce

Back in May, I made a spicy slaw from Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book and then realized there were several other things in that book I needed to make. One of those other things was this African-spiced chicken. In the book, the complete dish involves shredding the chicken and wrapping it in flatbread with apricot couscous and the sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I really just wanted the chicken and the green olive sauce. I was drawn in by the mix of spices rubbed on the chicken and the burnished, oven-roasted, finished bird, and I had to find out how it tasted with that sauce.

The spice mix was made by toasting broken cinnamon sticks, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and sweet paprika in a dry skillet. Once the heat made the spices aromatic, they were placed in a coffee grinder which I use just for spices. Salt was added, and the mixture was ground to a powder. The spice mixture was rubbed onto the chicken, and I always loosen the skin over the breast so as to season under the skin as well. Then, cilantro, one halved lemon, and on halved head of garlic were placed in the cavity. I left the chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours to absorb the flavors, and then it was roasted in a 400 degree F oven for just over an hour. For the sauce, shallots and one red chile were sauteed in olive oil until the shallots were caramelized. That mixture was added to a food processor with one half pound of pitted, green Spanish olives, parsley leaves, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. That was pureed until very smooth.

Not only did those spices smell wonderful as the chicken roasted, they also really permeated the meat. Then, there was the sauce. The sauteed shallots sweetened the brininess of the olives, the parsley gave it herby freshness, and the oil smoothed it out nicely. It complemented the chicken well, and served as a nice dressing with some mixed baby greens. I can also report that the leftover chicken made one of the best chicken salads I’ve had. This was a twist on roasted chicken I'll be repeating often.




35 comments:

  1. What a wonderfully spicy dish! So flavorful, yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been wanting some flavors that are a bit more exotic than my usual - this sounds perfect. I have all those spices on hand but wouldn't have thought of the combination. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love exotic dish like this one Lisa. I am so drooling right now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love chicken, esp when it's a hottie. ^^

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's our turn to host a dinner party next week and the theme is West/East African. This is a nice flavor combination for the chicken. That sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a beautiful dish. Must be so good with all the spices.

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh my gosh! that olive sauce looks and sounds amazing! i am definitely trying this!! it sounds so good. i love olives!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is bursting with so much flavor..... with the spices and the olives..

    ReplyDelete
  9. That sauce sounds delicious! I can see how it WOULD make a great salad dressing, too. Bet it would be good drizzled over grilled veggies, too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. holy chicken! I'm smelling all the wonderful spices from here!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Okay, we love all things spicy, but this is totally radical and I love it! I can hardly wait to give it a try (especially now that cooler weather has arrived, even in West Texas).

    Ever notice how your entire menu changes with the seasons? Ever gain poundage from it? Nah! Me neither. (HA!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love green olives and I think this sauce is wicked good. And I love all the other spices which you added as well. Can almost smell the aroma from here!

    ReplyDelete
  13. all those spices sound amazing. i can only imagine how aromatic this dish was. when we went to morocco we had a lovely green olive sauce :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. That is one very good looking chicken! The spice combination sounds wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  15. oh, good golly, that mixture of spices sounds ridiculously fragrant and amazing! GLORIOUS dish, lisa!
    and your "not that there's anything wrong with that" line made me think of good ol' seinfeld and smile. not sure if that was your intention, but thanks anyway. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh, that looks delicious. I love the use of olives in West African cooking, and the rub is a great alternative to the usual herb, garlic and butter rub that I put on chicken. I will have to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  17. really looks delicious. i want it now.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The roasted chicken looks out of this world delicious!! Love the olive sauce too - it's so unique!

    ReplyDelete
  19. The spice mix sounds so aromatic and flavorful! I also love the green olive sauce here!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You got a lot of us drooling over this one!! I just roasted a chicken a couple of days ago but next time, I'm going to have to try this combo of spices! It sounds amazing! You should submit this to Tyler Florence Fridays!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love this kind of food. Can I come over?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, really! This chicken looks super delicious! I love olives and they are not so frequently used for cooked dishes, this is a good addition.

    ReplyDelete
  23. vat a great spice combo!!! yummmm!!! love it very much lisa!!
    cheers and have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. That chicken looks so beautiful and flavoursome! I cna practically smell the gorgeous aroma from looking at those spices :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. This reminds me of the flavors in a North African tagine -- all briney and spicy. I love the thought of it.

    I'm thinking that sauce (or some variation thereof) is going to visit my kitchen one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow, what a pop in your mouth combination of spices! I bet your kitchen smelled soooooo good! Lovely dish.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh wow - this looks amazing. I love green olives in dishes like this. I cannot wait to give it a try

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow !! what an amazing concoction!! love the idea of green olive sauce over chicken!! yummy

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a divine chicken dish!! I so love all of the flavours & spices beautifully combined!!!!!

    Yum Yum Yum,...

    ReplyDelete
  30. The chicken looks truly yummy and the green olive sauce is amazing! I would love to try making this sauce someday!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh my! This chicken looks out of this world! I am dyyying to make it now :) And beautiful pictures too!

    ReplyDelete
  32. The skin on that chicken would not last a second in my kitchen...the spice combination is fantastic...not to mention the olives, if I did not eat those first too! Ha

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wooooo.. all those spices must have made it so fragrant. I guess this sauce would go with so many other recipes, I am thinking Salmon.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The sauce sounds amazing! Now I know how you must have felt when you saw this recipe and wanted to taste the spice-rubbed chicken and olive sauce; the craving has been passed on to me. 8-)

    ReplyDelete

Blogging tips