Farmer’s Chicken

James Beard inspired my family to make this dish. His recipe was based on a traditional field hand’s lunch handed down from Spanish settlers in Southern California.

Serves two to four persons
Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 1 large chicken, cut into legs, thighs, breasts
  • 1 minced onion
  • 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 tbs. Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup “mild” green olives (gerbers, picholine, green lugques work well)
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock


Heat a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, season your chicken parts with salt and pepper and brown in the pan, turning several times. The accumulating rendered chicken fat will do the job; no added fats are necessary.

When browned, tip out all the rendered fat and add the onion and pepper to the pan. Stir and cook for several minutes and add the paprika and oregano; stir once more.

Add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry, add the stock, currants and olives. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, remove cover and cook until pan is nearly dry and sauce has thickened. Season with sea salt and fresh minced parsley.

Stir in the lemon juice and zest, garnish with the toasted almonds and serve.


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