Mediterranean Chicken [on the fly]

That is what I’m calling this last minute, “lets-see-what I have in the refrigerator to cook the chicken with”.

As I mentioned before, I’m supper gutsy when it comes to cooking savory recipes.  I tend to go a bit off the beaten path and cook with my heart and with no set of rules. 

Sort of like how my mother cooks - By the seat of our pants.

I cannot help myself from deviating as soon as I start any given recipe that I’m trying out.  I blame the fact that I read tons of recipes – I have over 100 cookbooks, 5 different subscriptions to major food magazines and over 50 feeds to food blogs that I read daily in my reader.  When I want to make a recipe with one single ingredient, I tap all of these motivation sources by pulling bits and pieces of every single thing that I read, saw or even tasted.

A particular ingredients, a feel of a particular cuisine, even a picture of a dish will get my creativity going.

But, the one that pulls the most is our own craving and what we have in the refrigerator in the first place.  Then, it sort of spirals from there, and this recipe was no exemption.

It started simple enough.

I had a package of chicken thighs.  I wanted something with a sauce, because I was craving rice – and you cannot have rice unless you have a sauce to smoother it with – of course this sentiment is personal, but I bet you would like your rice soaked with sauce too.

Go ahead, you can share that secret with me, I won’t tell.

There you have it - Craving = Rice.  Ingredient = Chicken.  Next step, refrigerator.

I started to take out things out of the refrigerator that appealed to me. I wanted a Mediterranean feel to the dish – which meant that cappers and sun dry tomatoes we going to in there, along with a rainbow of herbs that I have growing in my garden. Then I went a bit wild and added apricot preserved, because when I tasted it at the half-way point, it needed something, to balance the bold flavors, and I did not want to add sugar, so I open the refrigerator door for motivation and the apricot preserved jar jumped at me and of course I thought – why not?

See, gutsy! 

You could follow my steps below, but at the end I guess this recipe is all about tapping your creativity with what you got – would you dish come out the same as mine? I doubt it, but like anything out there, a recipe to me is a starting point, the ride is my own resourcefulness with the end results a usually welcome surprise.

I wish I could say the same when it came to baking.

But for now, grab a bit of inspiration from my own recipe below and see how gutsy you get.


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Flour to coat the chicken.
  • Salt and pepper to season it (to taste)
  • 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves - chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-4 slices of bacon – chopped
  • 1½ cups of white wine
  • 2-4 tablespoons of dry tomatoes – if they are in oil, drain them.
  • 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of capers, drained and washed
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano, basil, thyme & rosemary (chopped and mixed in together)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of apricot preserved
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3-4 dashes of cream

Prepare the chicken, by patting it dry and seasoning with salt and pepper.  I like the skin on chicken, so I left mine on, but of course you can remove it.  Pat each piece with flour and set aside and let them rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes - during this time chopped your other ingredients.

In a large saucepan, on medium high heat, pour a bit of oil – about 1 teaspoon or so, and start cooking the bacon, until nice and crispy.  Remove it from the heat and leave the fat left behind.  Add a bit more oil if needed, and one by one, add the chicken thighs and cook it well on all sides.  About 5 minutes should give you a nice crust all around.  Sprinkle some of the chopped herbs (about half) Remove the chicken and to the hot pan, add the onions, garlic, leeks and bacon.

Cook until everything is translucent and season with salt and pepper.  Your pan is going become a bit dry, and at this point add about ½ cup of the wine, scrapping the bits left behind by the bacon and chicken.  Add the rest of the ingredients: the capers, dry tomatoes, the anchovy and tomatoes paste, the apricot preserved, the red chili sauce and the rest of the chopped herbs.  Bring back the chicken and arrange on top… pour the rest of the wine, reduce the heat to medium and cover the saucepan.  Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the sauce reduced.  At this point pour the cream and stir, cook another 5 minutes and then turn the heat off.

Dinner is served!

I was surprise in how good it was.  It had a bit of the spicy kick, and the flavors of the capers with the sun dry tomatoes and the bacon made it seem robust and very earthy.

It was perfect soaking sauce for my rice.

And by the way, The Gutsy Cook Club is starting up again, with a totally new format, if you are interested, stop by mid week and check out what we will be doing moving forward and if you are intested, join up and be Gutsy!