Roast Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Green Olives

I enjoy the flavor combination of lots of garlic, olives, and lemon — especially with chicken.  I believe the first place I saw a recipe with this particular combination was in one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.  Well, maybe not, because I’m sure I’ve tagged quite a few in my epicurious recipe box.  Since finding out I lusted after those flavors, each time I see a recipe that includes them, I try it.  Chicken Piccata sort of falls into this category, but lacks the olives.  And I’ve tried a few that include artichoke hearts, but not with the olives.  Clearly it’s lust.

I’ve had to wait a bit for this particular recipe, however.  The grocery store I shop at the most decided to get rid of the green olives I used to count on.  They weren’t anything special, they just came in handy. Plus, the olives were pitted.  The last time I bent over to pick up a can, horror of all horrors, they were gone.  One meezly can’s width of space on a shelf and they have to get rid of it?  Of course they had umpteen gazillion cans of black olives (basic black American variety good for inserting fingers into at Thanksgiving when you’re completely bored with the conversation at the table) and an unbelievable number of those nasty Spanish olives with the pimento stuck in them which would so not work for this recipe).  What is wrong with having a bit of variety?  Huh?  It drives me nuts, because then I have to find a different store.  Or spend more on something that shouldn’t cost as much as it does.  I ended up conceding to a jar of gigantic green "Greek" olives that had seeds.  But at least I had green olives, even if they did set me back about six bucks.

So the latest recipe I’ve found that includes garlic, olives, and lemons is from seriously simple:  Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks by Diane Rossen WorthingtonAnd she’s right.  This is a very simple recipe.  Yesterday I didn’t quite have my ducks in a row (read:  blogging, more blogging, car pool, late afternoon grocery shopping, and more blogging…) and a miscalculation on timing to get chicken tandoori on the table (which will be tonight instead).  Anyhoo, I grabbed this cookbook, turned to the page I marked, started cooking at 7PM, and sat down to eat about about 8:15.  Not bad for something that has to be in the oven for 40 minutes, right?  What, you thought I was going to say this took 15 minutes?  Uh, no.

If you love garlic, this recipe is totally for you.  Goodness, it’s amazing.

Roast Lemon-garlic Chicken with Green Olives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

1 T finely chopped lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/4 c. plus 2 T finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, and/or oregano
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 3-1/2 lb. fryer chicken, cut up
25 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. pitted French green olives, rinsed


1.  Combine lemon zest, juice, olive oil, 1/4 c. herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir.
2.  Arrange chicken pieces in a roasting pan that can be brought to the table and pour lemon-herb mix over the top.  Arrange garlic cloves around chicken, stirring them to coat with the mix. 
3.  Roast about 40 minutes, or until chicken is nicely browned and opaque throughout.
4.  Remove chicken from oven.  Add broth to pan, and place on stove top over med-high heat.  Stir to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan.  Add olives and stir.  Cook a few minutes longer to heat them through.
5.  Garnish with the remaining 2 T herbs and serve from the pan, or transfer to a platter.


Look at all that broth!


This turned out to be a very healthy meal.  Very little fat, and lots of flavor which was extremely satisfying. 


The sliced olives provided a nice touch of color.


The garlic roasted on the chicken was beautiful and delicious.


  • I used a convection setting, and did not wait for the oven to completely heat up to put the chicken in. 
  • I used three rather hefty boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken.
  • I used  fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, and green onions for my herb mixture.
  • I sliced the large green "Greek" (not French) olives I had on hand — about 6-8 of them.
  • I used an odd new type of garlic I bought at Trader Joe’s (see above) that is a round head-type single clove I cut into 8 smaller pieces — each of which was the size of a large regular clove.
  • At 30 minutes, I added the olives and broth, then continued to bake for the remaining 10 minutes.
  • There weren’t any brown bits to scrape up and there was quite a bit of broth in the bottom of the pan that would have been great thickened.
  • I served with brown rice, pouring a bit of the broth over all and sprinkling the remaining herbs.
  • Great dish with an excellent roasted garlic flavor and that is lemony without the pungent taste lemons roasted with peelings on can have
  • I’ll keep this one tagged to play around with.