Chicken with orange and black olives

This simple supper uses kitchen staples to brighten up a plate of chicken pieces. Use any cut of chicken you like, though I have also tried this recipe with duck breasts and found it even better. Sautéing the chicken pieces till golden brown before adding the stock is essential to the flavour and character of the dish. It looks smart served on a plain white plate with a deep rim. For 2

2 tbsps olive oil
50g butter
2 whole chicken legs
225ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
12 black olives, stoned
1 orange, cut in half then into thin slices
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and half the butter in a shallow pan. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, then add the chicken stock. Stir in the thyme, olives and the orange slices. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Check that the chicken is cooked - when pierced with the point of a knife the juices should run clear - then remove the pieces to a warm serving plate. Taste the sauce, add the parsley and season it with pepper, and very carefully, if at all, with salt. Turn up the heat, reduce the liquid by bubbling down to 150ml, then whisk in the remaining butter. The sauce will be shiny and slightly thickened when it is ready. Plate the chicken pieces and pour over the sauce. Serve with a starchy accessory, such as wide noodles or steamed potatoes.

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