Chicken with orange peel, black olives, tomatoes and thyme

Serves 4-6

I often use orange peel to flavour sauce-based dishes – it lends a fragrant, delicate taste that works particularly well with tomatoes, saffron or fennel. I also dry orange peel slowly in the oven at this time of year and add it to daubes, brassatto or any dish in which you are looking to create a subtle but heady top note. Mandarin peel dried in the same way works well with the more Asian flavours of chilli, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and cinnamon.

Serve this dish with really good bread to mop up the juices or with potatoes cooked whole, skins on, until falling apart, laced with really good olive oil, lemon juice and lots of black pepper.

1 whole organic, free-range chicken. Ask your butcher to joint it into 8
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
25ml/1fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
300ml/1/2 pint dry white wine
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bunch of thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
1 dried red chilli
The peel of one orange
600ml/1 pint good-quality jarred tomatoes
25 little black olives, such as Niçoise or Ligurian

Season the chicken generously all over. Place the olive oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces all over really well – you will need to do this in batches, as in order to brown properly, the chicken will need space around it.

As the pieces are done, remove from the pan and set aside. Pour off the fat and return the pan to the heat. Deglaze with the wine, allowing the alcohol to splutter and boil and reduce by a third.

Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, chilli, tomatoes and orange peel. Return the chicken to the pan, turn down the heat, place a lid on and cook for a further 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the olives, stir well, check for seasoning and serve straight from the pan. '

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