Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Chicken, Lemon & Olive Stew

Scott Phillips

Servings: ten to twelve.

Warm, earthy spices infuse this savory stew, and olives and lemon add brightness. It’s perfect for casual entertaining because it tastes even better a day or two after it’s made.


  • 6 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 25 thighs), trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 Tbs. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 small dried red chiles, preferably chile de Arbol, stemmed and crumbled
  • Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
  • 1 quart lower-salt chicken broth
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups small pitted green olives, such as picholine or manzanilla
  • Saffron Couscous
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro or mint

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size (without couscous)
  • Calories (kcal) : 490
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 220
  • Fat (g): 25
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 860
  • Carbohydrates (g): 18
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 48


  • Season the chicken all over with 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the chicken well all over, about 3 minutes per side, transferring each batch to a plate or bowl—it’ll take about 4 batches and 24 minutes total to brown all the chicken. The bottom of the pan will be brown, but that’s OK.

    Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chiles, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the lemon juice. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

    Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Carefully stir in the chickpeas and olives. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened somewhat and the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more. Stir in 1 Tbs. of the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the Saffron Couscous, sprinkled with the cilantro or mint.

Make Ahead Tips

This stew can be prepared and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead or frozen up to 1 month in advance. Reheat gently over medium-low heat, adding 1/2 cup water if the stew seems too thick.


Rate or Review

Reviews (13 reviews)

  • pbcorn | 03/18/2017

    One of my favorite things to make! Love all of the flavors and I was never into chicken thighs before but they are so tender and flavorful. Even better the next day.

  • moebears | 09/14/2015

    I thought this was good, but needed some tweeking. I added a tbl or so of honey and some chopped dates. Served it with roasted cauliflower and carrots.

  • chefwannabe | 11/24/2014

    For adventurous diners this dinner is easy and delicious. I'm still working on the type of green olives to use. The ones in the jar are tasteless. I'm going to try Italian cracked green olives next time. I also reduce the garlic and I don't think it affects the final result.

  • Lucymarscup | 09/29/2014

    Really enjoyed and happy with how this recipe turned out. My only comments would be: 1) I doubled the amount of the chicken broth; it's easier to cook down. Otherwise, it dries out the chicken; 2) I don't like couscous, so we served the chicken over steamed spinach. Wonderful vegetarian twist. This had a terrific taste. Complex and yet hearty. I will definitely make this again.

Show More

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 50%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

Start your FREE trial