15 Oct Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives from Corfu


Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives from Corfu

15 October 2021

PREP. TIME: 10 MIN     -   COOK: 50 min   -    Serves: 4- 6

Here is another way to cook chicken - Mediterranean style. The lemon and olive flavours are particularly refreshing.

It makes for a relatively easy meal with few ingredients and minimal prep and cooking time.

Ask the butcher to chop a 1.5kg chicken into 8 pieces for you - be sure to have the back bone removed. If your household cannot manage a whole chicken, order 6 - 8 Chicken Chops. These are wonderful to braise. Request skin on and bone in for the best flavour. 

You can braise this dish in the oven if you need the stove top but I prefer to cook it on top of the stove in a Dutch Oven or a large deep fry pan with a fitted lid.

Recipe Template

Generally I use Preserved Lemons for this dish. It is an 8 day procedure to pickle your own lemons. A jar of good quality preserved lemons is relatively easy to come by. You can buy them in most good grocers or Mediterranean specialty stores. 

Serve the chicken with hot mashed potatoes or a Rice Pilaf.


1.5 kg chicken chopped into 8 pieces or 6 - 8 chicken chops - skin on - bone in.

1/2 cup olive oil plus extra for drizzling

1 tablespoon roughly shopped rosemary leaves

1 sprig of rosemary for garnish

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 onion peeled and grated

1 clove garlic peeled and sliced

1 preserved or pickled lemon

2 fresh lemons

1 cup of colourful firm olives

1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock or water

Salt and Pepper


Chopping board and paring knife

Measuring cups and spoons

26 - 30 cm fry pan or shallow pot with fitted lid

Metal tongs

Kitchen paper towel


Step 1 Prepare the ingredients

Remove the chicken pieces from their wrappings when you get home.

Place the chicken on clean kitchen paper towel and pat it dry.

Sprinkle 2 - 3 teaspoons of salt over the chicken flesh.

Store the chicken in a container, uncovered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bring to room temperature - 1 hour before cooking.

Peel the garlic, cut into slices

Peel and grate the onion

Rinse and chop the rosemary and parsley

Rinse the olives in a strainer under cold running water Drain on clean kitchen towel.

Pit and slice 1/3 of the olives. Set the rest aside for garnish

Rinse the preserved or pickled lemon and drain on kitchen towel.

Scrape away and discard any flesh or white pith. Finely slice the skin into slithers.

Juice one lemon - reserving 2 tablespoons drained juice.

Cut the other lemon into wedges or slices.

Step 2 - Brown the Chicken 

Cover the base of the pot or pan with olive oil and place over moderate heat.

Arrange the chicken in a single lay and increase the heat - skin up. Gently pull the skin across the flesh to cover.

Cook the chicken for about 8 minutes, turning it after a few minutes and continuing to do so if you need to. Be sure for the skin to cook until golden. The chicken should be browned all over.

If your pan is too small to cook in one layer, cook the chicken in batches, set the cooked chicken aside before returning it to the pan to finish cooking with the other ingredients.

As soon as the chicken is cooked add the garlic and onion to the pan with the rosemary and half the parsley.  Cook stirring for 2 - 3 minutes.

Step 3 - Cooking

Return all the chicken and any juices to the pan; Arrange the chicken skin side up, in a single layer.  

Add the pickled lemon, the sliced lemon and the sliced olives with the stock or water.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and keep at a steady simmer, partially covered with the lid for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You know it is cooked when the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the meat with a sharp knife or skewer.

Step 4 - Assembly

If there is too much liquid in the pot, remove the chicken and boil the juices to reduce a little. 

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the lemon juice to the pan and stir to distribute evenly.

Check again for seasoning adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper as needed.

Return the chicken to the pan and coat well in the juices.

Step 4 - To Serve

Arrange the chicken on a heated serving dish or on a platter.  Spoon the juices over the chicken and arrange the slices of lemon and whole olives on top or around the chicken pieces.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and the remaining parsley.

Serve with hot mashed potato, steamed rice or a rice pilaf.


Adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from recipes by Vefa Alexiadou - Greece the Cookbook and David Tanis, NYT Cooking, Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives.

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