In this budget-friendly dish, chicken drumsticks become luscious and tasty after a long stint in the moist environment of the slow cooker. Serving them with a piquant lemon and olive relish helps to cut the richness of the meat. Accompany with creamy mashed potatoes or a savory herbed rice pilaf for soaking up the flavorful juices.
Chicken with Lemon and Green Olives
3 lb. (1.5 kg) chicken drumsticks, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) chicken stock
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
3 small lemons
1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) green olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) finely chopped blanched almonds
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pat the drumsticks dry, then season all over with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken and sear, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, thyme and bay leaves and sauté until the vegetables are just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the wine, stock, and vinegar and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker and place the chicken on top. Cover and cook on the low setting for about 3 hours. The chicken should be very tender.
Transfer the drumsticks to a serving platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan, let stand for a few minutes and then skim off the fat with a large spoon. Reheat over medium heat and keep warm.
Slice 1 lemon crosswise as thinly as possible, preferably with a mandoline. Remove the seeds and finely chop the slices, rind and all. In a bowl, combine the chopped lemon, olives, almonds and parsley. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, a scant 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
Cut the remaining 2 lemons into wedges. Drizzle some of the warm braising liquid over the chicken, top with the lemon-olive relish, and serve at once with the lemon wedges on the side. Serves 6.
Find more fresh and satisfying recipes for your slow cooker in our The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns.