It’s still just the beginning of March, but I have the feeling that spring is around the corner. We have been talking walks on Mount Gibele to gather wild oregano. What a blessing! The oregano of Pantelleria is very intense. It is a cross with oregano and marjoram, and it carries the best qualities of both. The oregano is not only a fabulous spice but it also contains a lot of other great things within its oil, namely carvacrol. Oregano contains high amounts of omega-3s, iron, manganese, and antioxidants and it’s super antibacterial, as well as anti-viral and anti-fungal! This subject is something I will write about further in the future, after I have learned more about it. If you interested to read more about the Oregano harvest in Pantelleria, please visit my friends Amy and Peter’s blog http://flourishnourishinpantelleria.blogspot.it/2013/01/tales-from-harvest-of-green-gold-part-i.html , http://flourishnourishinpantelleria.blogspot.it/2013/01/tales-from-harvest-of-green-gold-part-2.html
Anyhow, after our day in the mountains I was craving a hot plate of chicken. With our own olives, bay leaves, celery, lemons from the garden and a splash of the local zibibbo wine this recipe came together.
I hope you like it!
Braised Chicken with wild oregano and olives
Note: You will need a oven ready pot with lid.
2 lb (1 kilo) Whole roasting chicken cut into quarters, then legs, thighs and wings separated at the joints (optional should you prefer boneless chicken you will need 1 pound (1/2 kilo) of chicken meat cut into eight pieces.) . If you so desire you can remove the skin of the chicken.
1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (for seasoning the chicken prior to searing)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for searing)
3 Garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
2 Lemons (washed)
1 Leek or 3 spring onions (washed, peeled cut into quarters, using leeks one inch pieces or (2.5 cm)
4 Stalks celery (washed, ribbed, cut into one inch pieces or 2.5 cm)
2 Bay leaves (whole)
3/4 Cup ( 1.8 dl) dry white wine
3/4 Cup ( 1.8 dl) water
20 Olives green or black, green olives will loose their color due to the heat turning brown so if you wish to use a combination for eye appeal cook with black half black olives then add the other half green olives prior to serving.
8-10 Sprigs fresh oregano, if not available high quality dried oregano can be substituted Oregano di Pantelleria
1/4 Cup ( 0.6 dl) olive oil
Preheat the oven at 350 F degrees (180 C).
Gather and prepare all the ingredients as listed and instructed.
Place the chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle salt and pepper on it tossing as to make sure the chicken is evenly seasoned.
On the stove top place your oven ready pot in a medium sized burner which is placed on the highest setting and allow if a minute or two to become hot.
Add the two Tablespoons of olive oil. Next place the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pot covering the surface but not over crowding as to all the chicken to sear and caramelize. If you find you have more chicken then room in the pot, sear the meat in stages. Have a plate to remove and place seared pieces and repeat this process until all the pieces are seared.
When chicken is seared add the 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pot and minced garlic. Allow the garlic 10 seconds to cook then add the lemons and rest of the vegetables stirring them as to coat with the garlic flavored oil. Add wine, water, lemons, bay leaves and olives. If you do not have fresh oregano add dried at this time. Place the chicken back into the pot and allow the liquid to come to boil. Turn off the heat on the burner, place the lid on top of the pot and place pot into the oven.
If you decided to use boneless chicken in about 30-40 minutes the dish should be complete. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully remove the lid as to check on the meat. If boneless it will be firm to the touch, if on the bone the meat should be firm and able to come off the bone easily. If you see any red or uncooked meat place the lid back on the pot and place the pot back in the oven to allow 15 more minutes of cooking time. After 15 minutes repeat the aforementioned process.
This dish can be served over cooked rice or potatoes or in a bowl alone with crunchy bread and a nice glass of white wine.
Ceramic pot from Crate and Barrel
Dinner dinner plate from Pearl River Mart
To buy Origano di Pantelleria http://shop.underthealmondtree.com/product/origano-di-pantelleria
To order Origano di Pantelleria in America, contact Jim Dixon at www.realgoodfood.com