Chicken with Dates, Olives and Capers.

I’ve just stumbled across Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful recipe for chicken, dates, olives and capers.  Comforting, exciting, fresh and zesty: what more could a girl ask for at the end of a long day..?

ottolenghi's chicken with dates, olives and capers 1:2

Perfect for family suppers, easy entertaining, or prepare ahead & freeze suppers for one.

Treacly, dark sugar mingles unexpectedly but perfectly with sharp capers, green olives, white wine and vinegar.  Preparing ahead and allowing to marinade for a day or two tenderises the chicken, and adds to the all-round chilled out personality of the dish. Serve with your favourite green salad and crispy herb coated potatoes, basmati rice, or a hunk of fresh bread to mop up the juices.

A warming blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, this is an inspiring, easy dish to prepare for long, cold winter’s evenings, adding a spark at the end of the day when the dark has drawn in.  Having said that, I know I’ll be enjoying it outside, on balmy summer evenings too.

Roast Chicken with Dates, Olives and Capers.   

Serves 4 (ish).

8 chicken legs, drumstick and thigh attached, skin on (2kg )
5 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
15g fresh oregano, torn, plus extra for garnish (be flexible  – I use basil, marjoram or similar)
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
100g pitted green olives ( I use pitted olives stuffed with pimento, as I like the flash of red)
60g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their juices
70g , pitted and quartered lengthways Medjoul dates (or the best dates you can afford)
2 bay leaves
120ml dry white wine
1 tbsp date syrup or treacle
Salt and black pepper

Skin the chicken or not as you wish – I always do half and half, as some do and some don’t like to eat the skin.  I’m definitely in the latter camp.

Place the chicken in a large bowl and add all of the ingredients, apart from the wine and date molasses, along with ¾ teaspoon of salt and a good a few turns of black pepper. Gently combine, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1 to 2 days, stirring the ingredients a few times during the process.

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Spread out the chicken legs on a large roasting tray, with all the marinade ingredients poured over. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over the meat. Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times, until the meat is golden brown on top and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and transfer onto a preheated large platter.  Sprinkle your herbs over to garnish and add to the melange of flavours… yum 🙂

This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s website – well worth a visit if you haven’t found it yet:


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