A more flavorful chicken and potato dinner
This Anchovy Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Potatoes is one of our favorite cast-iron dinners in the fall and winter months. Tender and juicy boneless skinless chicken thighs are pan-seared until brown, then basted in a rich sauce of anchovies, lemon zest, dijon, garlic, and red pepper, before nestling down into browned baby potatoes and Castelvetrano olives to finish in the oven. The resulting dish balances savory, briny, and salty flavors with the heartiness of a classic chicken and potato dinner.
Inspiration and adaptations
This recipe was adapted from Melissa Clark's Garlicky Chicken with Lemon Anchovy Sauce. Her recipe is gorgeous, but I've made some considerable changes to suit our preferences, including some adjustments to the method, increasing the chicken and anchovies, adding Dijon mustard and lemon zest to the sauce, swapping the capers out for Castelvetrano olives, and adding baby potatoes to make this a complete meal.
What kind of green olives are best to use?
I love to use Castelvetrano green olives for this Anchovy Chicken recipe. They are firm enough to hold up to the high heat of the oven and offer a mild, sweet, and butter flavor. I like to buy them pre-pitted to make this dish super easy to prep and enjoy.
If you can’t find Castevatrano olives a decent substitute is green Cerignola olives, which are also firm and buttery. If neither option is to be found, this recipe works well with green Manzanilla olives, which are readily found in most grocery stores, often stuffed with red pepper. This option is much brinier and slightly bitter compared to the Castelvetrano olive, but will still be delicious in this recipe if you’re having trouble finding the others.
Can I use a different cut of chicken than boneless thighs?
Yes, of course. However, I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this Anchovy Chicken dish because they offer the rich and juicy flavors of dark meat, but cook much quicker than their bone-in counterparts, making them perfect for busy weeknights. Though bone-in chicken thighs provide the deepest chicken flavor, owing to the marrow in the bone, deboning an anchovy sauce-covered piece of chicken with a knife and fork is the last thing I want to do once it hits my plate. I prefer to reserve bone-in thighs for lightly seasoned or fried chicken recipes.
If you choose to use bone-in thighs, you’ll want to adjust the cooking time in the oven, increasing by around 10-15 minutes in order to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 C).
For those wondering if you can swap boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, the answer is also yes, though I highly advise against it if given the choice. Though chicken breast is a tempting choice to use given its lean qualities, it’s also much less forgiving when overcooked. An extraneous 5 minutes in the oven can turn chicken breasts dry and stringy, but is unlikely to ruin moisture-rich dark meat thighs. Simply put, less fat equals less flavor and less moisture. Chicken breasts also tend to be much more expensive than other cuts, so you’re getting the added bonus of likely saving a little money when choosing dark meat chicken.
If you choose to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, you’ll want to adjust the cooking time in the oven to only 15-20 minutes in order to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 C).
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A food processor
- A kitchen scale
- Measuring spoons
- A cutting board
- A chef's knife
- A citrus juicer
- A citrus zester
- A large oven-proof skillet
- A wooden spatula
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
Looking for more dinner inspiration?
Love this recipe? Here are some additional dinner dishes that you might enjoy!
- Chicken Thighs in Orange Dijon Herb Sauce
- Salmon with Whisky Cream Sauce and Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower
- Swedish Meatballs
- Shrimp in Romesco Sauce with White Beans
- Salmon with Adobo Sauce and Blackberry Cucumber Salsa
A note for special diets
This Anchovy Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Potatoes is friendly for gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, Paleo, Whole30, and, Low-FODMAP diets. If following a low-fodmap diet, it is important to remember that whole garlic must be omitted, but garlic-infused oil is considered friendly for the diet. This is the one I use most regularly these days.Print
This Anchovy Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Potatoes is one of our favorite cast-iron dinners in the fall and winter months. The resulting dish balances savory, briny, and salty flavors with the heartiness of a classic chicken and potato dinner.
- 3 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil, divided (may sub for 3 tbsp olive oil + 3 minced garlic cloves)
- 1 ½ lbs baby potatoes, sliced in half
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼th teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 8-10 anchovies in oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 140 g pitted Castelvetrano olives
- juice of 1 lemon
- Optional: fresh parsley to finish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F / 200 C.
- In a food processor, combine the anchovies, 1 tablespoon of the divided garlic-infused olive oil (or olive oil + minced garlic), Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, and zest of 1 lemon. Blitz until emulsified and then reserve to the side.
- In a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoon of the divided garlic infused oil (or olive oil + minced garlic) until shimmering. Add the potatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown, then remove the potatoes from the pan and reserve to the side.
- There should be residual oil from the potatoes in the pan, however, if your potatoes have soaked up all the oil you can add up to an additional tablespoon if needed. Add the chicken thighs to the pan and allow to cook undisturbed until brown on one side, about 5-minutes. If you find that your chicken is browning too quickly, you can reduce the heat. I find that this is usually necessary when I'm working with cast-iron pans in particular. Flip the chicken and dress the first browned side in half of the reserved anchovy sauce. I find this is easiest to do with a basting brush, but you can spread it over top with a spoon too. Allow the second side to cook undisturbed until brown, about 5-minutes then flip and dress the second side in the remaining half of the reserved anchovy sauce. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to the side.
- Lower the heat to medium (if you haven't already) and add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan, using your spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan for about 30 seconds to one minute, then turn the heat off.
- Add the reserved potatoes back to the pan, then nestle the reserved chicken thighs between the potatoes and scatter the Castelvatrano olives among the potatoes and chicken.
- Transfer to the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to at least 165 degrees F / 75 C and the potatoes are tender. If your potatoes are especially large, this may take a few extra minutes --but don't worry, chicken thighs can handle a few extra minutes in the oven without overcooking (unlike chicken breasts) owing to their higher fat content. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if desired.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 560
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 1222 mg
- Fat: 24 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 25 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 54 g
- Cholesterol: 152 mg
Keywords: chicken thighs, cast-iron, anchovies, lemon, potatoes, green olives, Castelvetrano