Nigel Slater is my food hero. If I could choose one tv chef to cook dinner for me, I would definitely choose Nige. Okay so he’s not the fanciest of chefs, I probably wouldn’t get michelin star fussy food, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that if Nigel is cooking you dinner you will really, really enjoy it.
Whenever I watch Simple Suppers, I find myself either wanting to make everything on the show immediately, or thinking of asking him to adopt me (so long as I can keep my actual parents as well, of course)
Mr Slater specialises in simple, achievable recipes, with the focus very much on making quality ingredients go a long way. This is something I can definitely buy into, for me taste always has to be the top consideration and to be honest my presentation skills leave a serious amount to be desired, so if my food doesn’t taste good then I’m in trouble!
I’ve had a lot of requests lately for savoury dishes, which isn’t exactly my area of expertise. But I knew that Nige could help me out, so I went straight to his Kitchen Diaries, specifically the wonderful second volume.
This baked chicken dish is so simple, you can easily whip it up after work, but it tastes so good it would work equally well on a slightly more special occasion. Using chicken thighs instead of breasts keeps the dish moist and full of flavour. If you can, buy free range chicken, not only is it more humane but it genuinely does taste better.
The tomatoes melt down into a fabulous sauce and the olives add a touch of saltiness. This dish is great with mashed potatoes and a side of sautéed spinach, but Nigel also suggests couscous, rice or crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Whatever you go with, just make sure you don’t waste that sauce!
Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives
From Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries II
4 chicken thighs
10 olives (I went with green, as that’s all my rubbish local supermarket had, but Nigel suggests black olives)
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsps rape seed oil (plus a little extra for frying)
175g tomatoes (I went with cherry tomatoes, but use whatever type you fancy)
3 large garlic cloves
1 tsp of dried thyme or 3 springs of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 180 C Fan / 390 F.
Stone and halve the olives and put them into a bowl with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of rape seed oil. Halve any large tomatoes and leave the small ones whole. Add all of them to the bowl.
Peel and lightly crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and pop them in the bowl whole. Finally add the thyme and some salt and pepper and give it all a good mix.
Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and colour the chicken thighs slightly on both sides. Put them into a baking dish and cover them with the tomato mixture.
Bake the chicken in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the juices run clear when the flesh is pierced with a skewer.
Serve with mashed potato, crusty bread, rice or couscous. Enjoy!