Poulet Aux Olives


I could seriously eat this dish every day, all year round, in hot weather, cold weather, for lunch, dinner, a late night snack, or maybe even for breakfast after a long run.  Itʼs also guaranteed to be the first meal I am served whenever I arrive in Israel, regardless of which house I end up at.  Sitting with my aunt Hana and eating Poulet aux Olives in her green kitchen is one of the great treasures in my life.  Itʼs that dish that I am forever nostalgic for.  It’s the reason I love making it so much.  I pit the olives and think of all the times I sat beside my uncle, Shimon, as we carefully removed each stone, laughing and chatting as we worked.  I think every member of my family has a different version; their own special twist.  My father made it with tongue, which as a child I loved.  One aunt makes it with a brisket cut.  My favorite version of late is made with chicken.  I always find it amazing how a great dish can evolve over time as our tastes change.  In Israel and France, you can find raw olives that you cook through once and then again with the chicken.  They have a completely different fragrance, an almost citrusy flavor.  However, even without the raw olives this dish is fantastically delicious.

Hana in her kitchen

Hana in her kitchen

1 whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces- or leg, thighs and whole breasts
1 yellow or purple onion- cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
4 tomatoes- diced
1.5 lbs pitted large green olives
3 cloves of garlic- sliced
2 tbs tomato paste- heaping spoonfuls
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley + more for garnish
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

1 tbs olive oil
2 cups of jasmine rice
2.5 cups of water or chicken stock
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

Wash and dry the chicken.  Liberally cover with freshly cracked black pepper and paprika.  In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tbs of olive oil.  Brown chicken on both sides for 4 minutes & set aside.  Then add the chopped onions and tomatoes, sauté until onions are soft (about 4 minutes).  Add garlic, cook for another 2 minutes.  Add chicken, olives, bay leaves, paprika, pepper, parsley, tomato paste and chicken stock.  Cover and cook on a medium to low heat until chicken is fully cooked.  Serve chicken over yellow rice, garnish with parsley

To make the rice heat olive oil in a pot, then add rice, turmeric and salt.  Mix well.  Add water or stock and cook over a medium to low fire for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Fluff rice and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Serves 4 people