Farmers’ chicken – a James Beard recipe

Here in Australia, butchers call the skin-on, bone-in leg/thigh combo cut ‘chicken Maryland’. These cuts make a beautiful, rich sauce due to their high fat content and gelatin that gets released during braising. If you cannot find this particular cut, go for skin-on thighs & legs. This recipe is rather unusual, and contains no tomatoes; rather, the sauce is red from the red pepper (capsicum) and paprika. The addition of green olives and currents makes its flavour profile quite unique. I have changed this recipe slightly, removing the tablespoon of oregano and adding garlic instead. It’s a nice change from your run-of-the-mill braised chicken recipes out there. Serve with rice, couscous or crusty bread to mop up the ample gravy.

Serves 4

Four chicken Maryland cuts (or 1.5 kg mix skin-on, bone-in thighs/legs)

1 red pepper minced

1 yellow onion minced

2 garlic cloves minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup currants or raisins

1/2 cup green olives

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon rind (grated)

3 cups stock (chicken or veg)

Slivered almonds for serving


Season chicken pieces with salt and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. You may also let meat season in refrigerator for a longer period of time prior to browning.

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed skillet and brown chicken. This may require several batches – ensure you do not rush this process. Removed browned chicken to a platter and remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Add chopped onion and capsicum to pan and deglaze with a bit of stock as needed. Add paprika to pan as well as minced garlic. Next add currants and olives and lemon rind. Return chicken pieces to pan and add 3 cups of stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down your oven to medium. Cover with lid, and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.

After 1.5 hours, remove chicken pieces to a platter and turn up heat to reduce sauce slightly – approximately 10 minutes. Use a whisk to remove sticky bits from bottom of pot. Smother chicken with sauce, add slivered almonds if using and enjoy!

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