Roast Chicken and Black Olives

  • Active Time 5m
  • Total Time 1h 20m

Serves 6

This is a roast chicken for real lovers of olives and olive oil. It is as delicious as it is simple, although I am hard-pressed to explain why a mere handful of olives inside the cavity of a chicken can make such a difference. Call it a miracle from Adele Rondini in Le Marche. Serve the chicken with boiled or roasted potatoes.


  • 1 (5-pound) roasting chicken, preferably free-range and organically raised, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) black olives in brine, preferably Nicoise type, pitted
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the giblets and excess fat from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry it thoroughly. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the cavity, then fill it with the garlic and black olives. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the skin, then rub it with the extra-virgin olive oil. Put both halves of the lemon and the three parsley sprigs inside the cavity. Truss it closed.

Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a roasting rack in a heavy roasting pan or heavy ovenproof skillet. Roast for 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over to brown the breast for 20-30 minutes longer. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer under the leg or at the thickest part of the thigh to see if the internal temperature is 170 degrees F (be careful not to pierce the cavity), or insert a knife in the same place and see if the juices run slightly rosy. They should not be red, which indicates that the chicken is not ready; nor should they be clear, which indicates that it is overcooked. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before carving and serving with the olives. You may mash the roasted garlic with juices from the roast, warm them together, taste for salt and pepper and pass at the table.

Credit: In Nonna's Kitchen by Carol Field

Copyright 1997 by Carol Field

ISBN 0-06-017184-7

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 2484

nutrition information per serving

326 calories; 19g total fat; 103mg cholesterol; 758mg sodium; 6g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 32g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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