Donald Link's Braised Chicken With Salami & Olives

February 12, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: As much as plain old salt is crucial for bringing out other flavors, there are even more powerful forms we could be taking better advantage of—not pricey infused salts, but the basic bottles and bags of ingredients we have hanging around that have already spent time mingling with salt and taking on new funky dimensions—here it's salami and green olives, but it could just as easily be bacon, pickles, miso, and so on. Adapted slightly from Down South (Clarkson Potter, 2014) via the New York Times.Genius Recipes

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hrs


  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (a mix of legs and/or thighs also works well)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 rosemary branch (about 8 inches)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced salami
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and cut in half (try to find firm, not-too-salty olives like Picholine or Castelvetrano)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
In This Recipe


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sear the chicken in 2 batches until golden brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked chicken to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or another large, shallow casserole.
  2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook in the rendered chicken fat until brown, stirring, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel, rosemary branch, salami, olives, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the wine and simmer to reduce, scraping the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, until caramelized. Add flour and cook, stirring to incorporate, for another 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth in batches and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves and lemon juice.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish and roast in the oven, basting every 30 minutes, until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is reduced but isn't drying out, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary. Serve chicken warm, with plenty of sauce.

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Reviews (27) Questions (2)

27 Reviews

Laurie March 15, 2019
I made this even though my wife doesn't like salami or olives but she loves chicken, so I thought she would just pick out what she didn't like, ate everything and even had a second bowl. It was also the first time I had made polenta. Will definitely be making again, Thanks for the recipe>
ifjuly March 11, 2019
Loved this, and while it takes a long time to cook (gotta love a nice long oven braise, mm!) putting it together is surprisingly simple. Thank you for posting it! Used soppressata instead of salami as I had some that needed using up, and did the whole thing in an enameled dutch oven. The only thing I'd do differently is seasoning the chicken with less salt as the olives (even rinsed) and sausage are plenty salty already. Wonderful dinner and now that I've made it I can see how polenta is the perfect accompaniment, will listen and make some to go with it next time.
Matt N. March 6, 2019
This recipe is not from Donald Link's "Real Cajun" published in 2009. It's from his cookbook "Down South" published in 2014, also by Clarkson Potter.
Kristen M. March 6, 2019
Hey Matt, thank you for catching that—I just updated the credit and link to Down South above.
Lisa O. February 21, 2019
This is super tasty! I made this with Boneless skinless chicken thighs on a snowy day with my boyfriend. Yummy! I'll definitely make this again!
Steve February 20, 2019
When I watched the video I thought even a hack cook like me can do this. I can’t tell you how wonderful it came out. I would confidently serve this to company. A true saver. Thank you so much.
Nancy G. February 20, 2019
Looks delicious and relatively easy!
Barbra F. February 19, 2019
This was amazing, I could eat this sauce on bread with no chicken. Made it in a deep 12 inch Scanpan skillet and it turned out brilliant. Thank you for sharing this recipe my whole family loved it❤️
Misfitwife February 19, 2019
Made this recipe over the weekend and it is amazing! The sauce is addicting and am thinking it would even be good with pork tenderloin. The only adjustment I made was using boneless chicken. I was also baking some plain chicken for those with dietary restrictions so I seared those skin-on, bone-in pieces in my pan first to get the rendered chicken fat. I know the boneless chicken doesn't impart as much to the dish, but I like using boneless in dishes being served in sauce. It was still delicious and the layers of flavor melded into a rich, velvety, flavorful dish. Definitely a keeper...and one I can't wait to make again for friends!
Texas E. February 18, 2019
Wow. Fantastic recipe. I recommend you trust Kristen and make this. Don't be put off by olives or salami, since they do not in any way dominate the dish.
Oven time was an hour, and that was the my only modification.
Tip: Check the size of your baking dish carefully, since that will influence the end result. I used a relatively shallow 9 x 13 baking dish.
Lisa O. February 21, 2019
Chanel February 13, 2019
What about with chicken breasts? I don’t want to cut up a whole chicken and usually use pounded chicken breasts. Boneless and skinless. Would that work?
Kristen M. February 15, 2019
I'm partial to bone-in, skin-on chicken, both for flavor and to protect the meat from drying out. And just buying thighs and legs will definitely work great here, rather than cutting up the whole chicken. But it sounds like others have made it with boneless, skinless breasts and thighs and been happy, if that's your preference. If I was cooking only breasts, I'd do it for much less time, not long past when they're cooked through, to keep them from drying out.
Brian February 13, 2019
Any tips on what type of salami to use? A hard stick or a softer Genoa?
Kristen M. February 13, 2019
Hard salami, not pre-sliced—just something from the grocery store (that you like the flavor of) will be great.
Matt N. March 12, 2019
As another poster noted, soppressata works really well -- sweet, hot, whatever -- and certainly looks more like what was added in the video. I had a link of some smoked spicy sausage in the fridge, chopped it up into quarters, and added it to the Genoa salami slabs I picked up at a deli.
draya3 February 13, 2019
Regarding step 4, why transfer to a baking dish? Why not put that skillet in the oven?
Ralph C. February 13, 2019
The skillet that Kristen used is ovenproof, so it could have gone into the oven. She may have transferred it to the baking dish to make it more presentable for the table and guests?
Frances K. February 13, 2019
Better yet, why not use a cast iron pan!
Kristen M. February 13, 2019
Great question (and it's actually what our studio team did in the photos here: It would just require a larger skillet (and burner—our range in the video studio is electric and doesn't heat outside of the burner). Whatever you bake in, you'll just want to make sure you can fit all the chicken in single layer and have the sauce come partway up the sides of the chicken, probably something that has roughly the surface area of the 9x13" pan called for. Also, I would only use enameled cast-iron or cast-iron that's really well-seasoned with a sauce this acidic, just in case the iron reacts with the sauce.
Frances K. February 13, 2019
I just made it for dinner halving the recipe using 4 chicken thighs and served it with polenta. It was wonderful. I did it in my well seasoned CI pan, took the chicken out after browning it, then did the veggies and all that, then put the chicken back in and basted it. I am wondering why you said to bake it for 2 hours in a 375 degree oven. I just did it for 30 min while I cooked the polenta and it was perfect.
draya3 February 13, 2019
Thank you!
Kristen M. February 14, 2019
So glad it was a hit, Frances. Donald Link's original recipe calls for baking and basting until really tender (about 1.5 hours) and, when braising, usually the longer and lower you cook something, the more tender it becomes (and the more the sauce melds and creeps in). Timing will depend on the size of the chicken pieces, too. But good to know it worked well for you with less time—good for you for checking!
Frances K. February 14, 2019
Low heat I can see, but the recipe said 375 degrees. I thought it could have used maybe another 15-20 min but hubby said it was just right. I really like the olives in it - maybe some sun dried tomatoes next time too. And I never think about using polenta, thanks to you I will use it more. I'm gluten free so I did have it on hand. Been in the refrigerator since 2010 but still good!
carla February 16, 2019
Agreed! I just transferred an 18" All Clad skillet full of yumminess right into the 375 oven! I could always transfer the finished dish to something more presentable for guests!
Belle February 13, 2019
Nutritional info? How much sodium per serving?
Kristen M. February 13, 2019
Hi Belle, we don't provide nutritional info, but community members on the Food52 Hotline have recommended sites like Edamam with handy tools where you can just copy and paste the ingredient list. Since there's kosher salt as well as salami and olives (and there can be sodium in chicken broth), I don't think this is a low-sodium dish.