saffron chicken with passata and black olives

Lindsey Bareham

Ringing the changes with chicken stew is my pleasure at the moment. This one owes a debt to Provencal dishes made with tomatoes and black olives but gets a snap of ginger, a hint of aromatic saffron and mushrooms. I opted for a jar of passata but make your own by whizzing a tin of tomatoes or a pound of fresh, and processing until thick and fluffy. Serve with rice, noodles or sloppy polenta. Green beans or frozen petits pois go well with this.

serves 4, prep 20 min, cook 45 min

1 onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10g ginger
2 garlic cloves
A generous pinch saffron threads
8 chicken thigh fillets
200g medium closed cap mushrooms
200ml chicken stock
400ml passata
18 pitted black olives
25g flat leaf parsley

Thinly slice the onion in half moons. Heat the oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan, stir in the onion. Add a generous pinch salt and fry, stirring occasionally, over a medium-low heat while you peel and thinly slice the ginger and garlic in small scraps. Stir both into the softening onion while you unfurl the chicken, slice the pieces into 4 or 5 thick strips. Wipe the mushrooms and cut through the stalk in quarters.

Dust the onion with saffron and cover with chicken pieces. Turn the chicken when the edges turn white. After 5 min stir in the mushrooms. Add 2 ladles of stock and the passata. Establish a steady simmer and cook for 20 min, stirring occasionally. Halve the olives round their middles, add to the pan, season to taste and cook for a further 10 min. Add extra stock if you think it necessary. Enjoy now or later, stirring in the chopped parsley just before serving.