How to make Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives

During an unforgettable journey brimming with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Spain, I was fortunate enough to encounter a dish that truly encapsulates the vibrant spirit of Spanish cuisine: Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives. This dish, starring succulent chicken drumsticks seasoned with aromatic dried thyme and thickened with cornstarch to create a velvety sauce, instantly became a favorite. The olives add a burst of briny flavor that complements the tender chicken beautifully, creating a pleasing contrast that ignites the palate. Inspired by this delicious discovery and determined to replicate the complex layering of flavors at home, I embarked on a culinary quest. With patience and passion, I succeeded in recreating the essence of this exquisite dish. It is with great joy and enthusiasm that I now share this recipe for Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives with you, inviting you to experience the rich tapestry of flavors that make Spanish cuisine so endlessly captivating.

Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives

The introduction to the recipe for "Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives" unfolds a tale of culinary discovery, tracing its inspiration back to an enchanting journey across Spain. At the heart of this dish are succulent chicken drumsticks, seasoned with aromatic dried thyme and thickened with cornstarch, creating a velvety sauce that's nothing short of compelling. The olives, with their briny burst of flavor, beautifully contrast the tender chicken, crafting a dish that's as pleasurable to the palate as it is to the eye. This adventure in cooking wasn't merely about replicating a meal; it was about capturing the essence of Spanish cuisine and sharing it with others. Through meticulous experimentation and a passion for flavors that characterize Spanish dining, the author not only perfected this dish but also infused it with the warmth and vibrancy of Spanish culture. Now eager to share this delightful creation with the world, the recipe for "Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives" is presented with the hope of transporting others to the sunny landscapes of Spain, offering a taste of its rich culinary heritage right at their tables.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 8 people
Calories 856 kcal


  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 oven


  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin and paprika
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 389 ml can tomato sauce


  • Remove the skin from the chicken and remove any excess fat.
  • Pour the sauce in. Quantify out the artichokes, then cut them up and throw them in.
  • Combine the onion, ginger, thyme, smoked paprika, and tarragon in a mixing bowl.
  • Place the chicken in the paste to coat it, then turn it bone-side out. Push your way into the liquid.
  • Cook for six hours on medium or 21⁄2 to 3 hours on average, or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Combine cornstarch and a few tablespoons of water in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Stir frequently in the sauce until it thickens, around five minutes. Chicken should be served over rice.
Keyword chicken drumsticks, cornstarch, Tomato Sauce

Cooking tips about Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives

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  • Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality chicken drumsticks, as the meat’s flavor is pivotal to the dish. Opt for organic or free-range chicken if possible, as it tends to have a better texture and taste.
  • Searing the Chicken: Before adding any sauce or liquids, thoroughly sear the chicken drumsticks until they are golden brown on all sides. This step is crucial for developing depth in the dish’s flavor profile and ensuring the skin has a slightly crispy texture which adds an excellent contrast to the sauce.
  • Green Olives: The choice of olives can significantly impact the dish’s flavor. Look for Spanish green olives, which add a beautiful brininess and a hint of bitterness that complements the chicken. Consider using olives that come with herbs or garlic for added flavor.
  • Dried Thyme: While fresh herbs often offer a vibrant flavor, dried thyme works wonderfully in this dish due to its concentration and ability to withstand longer cooking times. Make sure your dried thyme is relatively fresh, as older spices lose their potency.
  • Cornstarch Slurry: To achieve the perfect consistency for your sauce, use a cornstarch slurry (mix cornstarch with a little water before adding to the sauce). This method allows you to control the thickness without altering the sauce’s flavor. Add the slurry gradually, letting the sauce simmer and thicken before deciding if more is needed.
  • Simmer Slowly: After combining your ingredients, let the dish simmer on low heat. Slow cooking allows the chicken to become tender and the flavors to meld together beautifully. The sauce should lightly bubble, not boil vigorously, to prevent the chicken from drying out.
  • Resting Time: Once off the heat, let the dish rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and the sauce to thicken slightly, ensuring each bite is as delicious as possible.
  • Garnishing: Just before serving, garnish with additional fresh thyme or chopped parsley. This not only adds a pop of color for presentation but also a fresh burst of flavor that complements the richness of the dish.
  • Pairing: Consider what to serve with your Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives. Traditional Spanish rice or a simple loaf of crusty bread makes an excellent accompaniment, perfect for soaking up the flavorful sauce.

Serving suggestions about Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives

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  • Rustic Presentation: Embrace the rustic elegance of Spanish cuisine by serving the chicken on a colorful ceramic platter that showcases the dish’s beautiful colors—the golden hue of the chicken, the green brilliance of the olives, and the deep, savory sauce. The presentation should invite the eyes to feast first.
  • Garnish with Freshness: Just before serving, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or cilantro over the dish for a splash of color and a fresh aromatic kick. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds another layer of flavor that complements the brininess of the olives and the earthiness of the chicken.
  • Side Dishes: Offer side dishes that balance the intensity and richness of the main course. A light, crisp garden salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette or a side of roasted vegetables can provide a refreshing contrast. Additionally, consider serving a side of saffron-infused rice or warm, crusty bread to absorb the delicious sauce.
  • Wine Pairing: Select a wine that complements the savory complexity of the dish without overshadowing it. A medium-bodied Spanish red wine, such as a Rioja or a Tempranillo, would pair beautifully, mirroring the robust flavors of the chicken and olives. For white wine lovers, a dry, crisp Albariño from Galicia offers a delightful acidity that can cut through the richness of the sauce.
  • Creating an Atmosphere: Enhance the meal with details that conjure the essence of Spain. Light candles for a warm glow, play some flamenco music softly in the background, and decorate the table with Mediterranean motifs to transport your guests straight to the heart of Spanish culinary tradition.
  • Finishing with a Spanish Dessert: Conclude the meal on a sweet note with a traditional Spanish dessert. Options like flan, creamy custard topped with caramel sauce, or churros served with a thick chocolate dipping sauce, can beautifully round off the dining experience, leaving a lasting impression of warmth and hospitality.

Top 5 FAQs about Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives

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  • What Makes Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives “Spanish”? The distinctive characteristics of “Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives” stem from its use of classic Spanish ingredients and culinary techniques. The combination of chicken drumsticks seasoned with dried thyme, green olives, and a thickened sauce that employs cornstarch mirrors the flavors typical of Spain. The addition of green olives not only provides a briny depth but also pays homage to the Spanish tradition of using olives and olive oil as central culinary components.
  • Can I Substitute Chicken Drumsticks with Another Cut of Chicken? Yes, you can adjust the recipe based on your preference or availability. While chicken drumsticks are favored for their juiciness and ease of eating, especially in a saucy dish, alternatives like chicken thighs or breasts can be utilized. If using chicken breasts, consider cutting them into smaller pieces to ensure they cook evenly and remain as tender as possible within the sauce.
  • How Important is the Quality of the Olives in This Dish? The quality and type of green olives used can significantly impact the dish’s final taste. Opting for Spanish green olives, particularly those that come marinated in herbs or garlic, can enhance the authenticity and depth of flavor in the dish. High-quality olives will impart a noticeable difference in taste, adding complexity and a desirable brininess that complements the chicken beautifully.
  • What Type of Accompaniments Best Complement This Dish? To embrace the essence of Spanish cuisine fully, serving the Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives alongside traditional Spanish rice or crusty bread can elevate the meal. These sides are perfect for soaking up the rich sauce, ensuring not a bit of flavor is missed. Additionally, a simple side salad dressed in olive oil and vinegar can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the main dish.
  • Can This Dish Be Made Ahead of Time? Yes, one of the beauties of this dish is that it often tastes even better the next day, allowing the flavors to meld together further upon resting. If you plan to make it ahead of time, cool the dish thoroughly before refrigerating. Gently reheat it on the stove over low heat, adding a little water or stock if necessary to thin out the sauce. Ensure the chicken is heated through before serving. Making it ahead of time can be a convenient option for entertaining or preparing family meals during a busy week.

As we draw the culinary journey of Saucy Spanish Chicken with Green Olives to a close, it’s clear that this dish is much more than a simple meal—it’s a vibrant celebration of Spanish flavors and a testament to the power of quality ingredients coming together in harmony. The succulent chicken drumsticks, seasoned with aromatic dried thyme and enveloped in a saucy embrace of briny green olives, not only captivate the palate but also tell a story of tradition, warmth, and the joy of sharing good food. This adventure into Spanish cuisine has not only honed our cooking skills but also deepened our appreciation for the nuanced interplay of flavors that define this beloved dish.


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