Baked chicken with tomatoes and olives recipe | Nigel Slater

Using up the last of the tomatoes, both the ripe and the green ones, is very satisfying, but the green ones do need a bit of cooking. Slowly baked with the juices from the chicken, they take on the sweetness of their riper cousins. Here I use about one-third green tomatoes to two-thirds ripe ones.

Enough for 4

chicken thighs 8 large
black olives 12
the juice of a lemon
olive oil 2 tbsp, plus a little extra for frying
tomatoes 350g
garlic 6 plump cloves
thyme 3 large sprigs

Set the oven at 180C/gas 4. Rub the chicken pieces all over with salt and black pepper. Put them snugly in a roasting tin.

Stone and halve the olives. Pour the lemon juice and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a mixing bowl, then add the olives. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, or simply halve the smaller ones. Add them to the bowl. Peel the garlic and squash each clove with the flat of a knife, but keep them whole. Pull the leaves off the thyme sprigs and add to the tomatoes with the garlic, a generous seasoning of black pepper and a little salt.

Colour the chicken lightly on both sides in a little oil in a roasting tin over a moderate heat. The skin should be pale gold. Tip the tomato mixture over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and have produced plenty of juice and the chicken's juices run clear when you pierce the flesh with a skewer.

Serve with rice, couscous or crusty bread to soak up the tomatoey-chickeny juices.

Nigel's new book, Kitchen Diaries II, is published by Fourth Estate at £30. To order a copy for £19.99 (including free UK mainland p&p), go to or call 0330 333 6846.

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