Braised Chicken Breast with Green Olives & Jalapeno Pesto

Shockingly, Spencer has a gluten intolerance.  Imagine his pain being surrounded by gorgeous buttery pastry and sweets all day and not being able to indulge.  At home, we try to make gluten-free, low-carb dinners as much as possible, but unfortunately, I’m a carb fanatic.  Gluten and I are friends for life.  I enjoy the challenge of finding new recipes that will please both our palates and tummies, and this chicken dish is one of those dishes that I have made more times than I care to admit, and it leaves us all wanting more.  I adapted the chicken recipe from the “Earth to Table Every Day” cookbook by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann, and the jalapeno pesto (no adaptations) is from this book as well.  The first time we tried the chicken with the jalapeno pesto, I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  This dish shines on its own, but you can serve it with pasta, rice, potatoes, or a garden salad!


4 skinless boneless chicken breast

marinade –
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
Juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced
14-16 (3/4 cup) Castelvetrano olives or other mild crunchy olives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Night before: 

1. Place chicken in a large freezer bag and add the olive oil, garlic, thyme, red chili flakes, juice from 1 lemon, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and give the chicken a massage to distribute the herbs and refrigerate overnight.

Day of: 

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. In a large oven-proof pan, heat oil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chicken.  Sear until the chicken is a deep golden brown, about 8-10 minutes).  Flip chicken over and repeat on other side (6-8 minutes).  Remove chicken and set aside.
3. Add onions, and lemon water (juice from 1 lemon in a measuring cup and add water to the 3/4 cup mark.), and 2 pinches of salt.  Cook stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and tender, about 12 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the olives and mustard.
​4.  Place the chicken on top of the onion mixture.  Add the chicken stock and bay leaf.  Place in oven uncovered for about 18-22 minutes (or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
5.  Remove from oven, and let chicken rest for 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf, then place on a plate and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with jalapeno pesto.

Jalapeno Pesto

Jalapeno Pesto

This recipe can be made while the chicken is cooking.   I usually double the batch and spread this on our focaccia bread, or serve with the next day’s chicken, because you know I’m making the above chicken recipe 8 days a week! 🙂  One of many things I love about this recipe, aside from the obvious – flavour!, is that it uses sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts.  We all know how expensive pine nuts are.  This is a winner for me! Ingredients 

4 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt


1. Place the jalapenos and garlic in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds.  Add the sunflower seeds and pulse for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the olive oil and process for 15 seconds.  Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined.
3. Add the parsley and lemon juice; process until smooth.  Season with salt.
4. Serve with chicken dish or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week.