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> Chicken Casserole With Olives, from Leith's Cookery School
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Posted: 13-Apr-2004, 03:04 AM
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2 tablespoon sunflower oil
12 chicken thighs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 800g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of basil pesto
4 oz black olives (stoned)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil to garnish just before serving

Make sure you buy good quality olives and pesto as cheap brands can often be quite salty.

Heat the oven to Gas mark 4/175F.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add chicken thighs (skin side down) and brown well. This will have to be done in batches in order not to overcrowd the frying pan and cause the meat to steam, rather than fry.

When cooked, place the thighs in a large casserole dish. Then fry the garlic in the same oil for about 1 minute, ensuring it doesn't 'burn'. Add a little water to the pan and bring up to the boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure you incorporate all the cooking residue from the chicken. Add the tinned tomatoes, pesto and olives nad bring up to the boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour this mixture over the chicken and put tightly fitting lid on casserole and then bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

This can be served with couscous or basmati rice or even mashed potatoes!
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