Pancetta olive chicken

This is the new favorite chicken at my house. It’s a lot like eating a salt lick. In a good way.

I used pitted black olives here partly because they are so much easier to eat but more in order to use some of the lovely pitted naturally cured olives hanging out in my cupboard that some company at some point sent me to taste. I like them a lot but I’m also way too lazy to get up right now, go into the kitchen, pull the stool over, climb up onto the counter, and root around on the top shelf where live those cans to remind myself of the exact name brand, which is why I’m always delighted but surprised when people send me samples.

Pancetta olive chicken

Note that ideally you salt the chicken and let it sit overnight. A few hours, or an hour, is better than nothing, though. This both seasons it and helps the chicken hold onto its own juices and stay moist. It might seem counter-intuitive, but science makes it so.

1 chicken

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 head garlic

3 thick slices pancetta, finely chopped

1 cup white wine

Black olives

Cut the backbone out of the chicken (save it for stock!) and cut the chicken into 10 pieces – 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and each breast half cut in half. Put in a baking pan, sprinkle with all over with salt, cover, and chill overnight.

Heat oven to 450. While oven heats, peel the garlic cloves.

Drain off any juice that’s accumulated in the pan and pat chicken dry. Rub chicken with olive oil. Scatter garlic and pancetta over and around the chicken. Pour wine into the pan. Roast until the chicken just starts to brown, about 20 minutes.

Add black olives to the pan and roast until chicken is cooked through and the skin is well browned, about 30 more minutes.

Serve with plenty of bread to sop up with winy garlicky bacon-y olive-y chicken juices.