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Lemon and Olive Chicken


It takes just a few minutes more to make a big batch of this Mediterranean-style chicken than it does to prepare a small one. Eat half now; freeze the rest.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2003


  • 8 bone-in chicken breast halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. In two batches, sear chicken, skin side first, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

  2. Cut lemons in half lengthwise and then into thin slices crosswise. If the skillet is dry, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon slices, olives, stock, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Put chicken on top of vegetables, pour in any accumulated juices from the plate, and sprinkle with thyme and crushed red pepper. Cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Cook's Notes

You can store this chicken frozen for up to six weeks. Freeze each piece in an individual zip-close freezer bag with some sauce and press out air before sealing. When you're ready to serve it, thaw bag in refrigerator, then put in a pan with water to coat the bottom; cover, and simmer until hot.

Reviews Add a comment

  • prodsandservs4d
    14 MAR, 2017
    For the love of god, don't include lemon rind. I just dumped the w[filtered] recipe in the trash. Inedible.
  • MS10897357
    20 AUG, 2014
    Wish I would have read the reviews on this recipe first. It was just so-so. I agree with others that the extra 2 cups of water is a mistake. Too much prep for too little flavor. Should have made only half the recipe to start. Won't be making this again.
  • MS10593083
    15 AUG, 2014
    Yea...this wasn't great. After reading through the reviews, and not being one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to make it anyway, thinking I could improve upon it...nope. Glad I halved the recipe to start with. After sauteing the onions and garlic, I added some white wine, then 1 preserved lemon (preserved lemons don't have that bitterness in the peel)...2 fresh lemons must be unthinkable. Skipped the water, used fresh thyme, and added some cremini mushrooms. Still wasn't good.
  • MS11913996
    14 AUG, 2014
    Would de-glazing the pan with some white wine add a little extra flavor? Fresh herbs maybe?
  • goldenrodfarm
    26 MAR, 2014
    I wanted to like this recipe, I love all the ingredients, but the only taste to the sauce was the extreme bitterness of the rind of the lemon. Maybe it would be better with a different kind of lemon like the meyer lemons. The bitter taste smothered the lemon and green olive taste quite effectively. To try to make it at least edible after tasting the final produce, I added more olives, some white wine and just the juice of a lemon. Barely edible was all it was. One of my favorite meals is chicken or pork in a tomato olive sauce that we had often as a kid, a part of that homey feeling made me try this recipe. There isn't much point in trying to adjust this recipe unless you peal the lemon and just use the segments, and that would be time prohibitive for a just so so dish.
  • chantelspargo23
    3 JUN, 2013
    My husband and I both love this recipe. It is a little bitter with the olives and all the lemon, but we like it that way. If you don't like lots of lemon or are sensitive to bitter foods, then I would not try this recipe. But for the rest of us that love acidic foods and don't mind the bitterness, it is a great one!
  • Abluefront
    7 APR, 2013
    I didn't try this yet ... but, after reading the recipe and looking over the 1st few reviews I agree that there was a mistake. Instead of water in the directions they meant chicken broth. Also I would start with 1/2 the broth, and add a little at a time if necessary during cooking. I think it sounds great and simple. But if you don't like lemons, why bother trying it!
  • maryc32
    3 JUN, 2012
    Loved it, mmmmmm! Thank You Martha!
  • Aunika
    5 APR, 2012
    This turned out well for us, we omitted the extra 2 cups of water called for in the steps. i actually think that is a miss type and should be changed. Cut the onions thin, same with the lemons.
  • nheckscher
    26 JUL, 2011
    These are some of my favorite flavors and it smelled wonderful cooking in my kitchen. However, when I was eating my dinner, i did not get any hint of lemon or olive flavor in the chicken. I think there was too much liquid as the chicken really did not take on all of the wonderful flavors in the pot of juice that was left over. My family liked it but my husband didn't taste lemon or olive either, nor did my sons who love those tastes. I would make it again but tweak it some how!