Chilli Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Olives



  • 6 Chicken Thighs (cleaned and trimmed of excess fat)
  • 1tbsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1tsp Dried Thyme
  • 100g Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 50g Black Olive (cut into Segments)
  • 2tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Small Bunch of Parsley
  • Chilli Threads


  1. Prepare your chicken thighs, placing them skin side down and marinate the skinless exposed portion of the thighs in salt, pepper, olive oil, chilli flakes and thyme.  Leave them to marinate for 4-6hrs, or preferably overnight.
  2. About an hour before you begin cooking, remove your chicken thighs from the fridge and let them come up to room temperature.
  3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Add a little olive oil and place your chicken skin side down and cover with a lid and cook for approximately 5-6mins.  Remove the lid, turn the chicken skin side up and cook for another 1-2mins until lightly golden brown.  The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.  Remove and set aside the chicken.
  4. Strain off the excess fat and oil from the pan.  Deglaze your pan with the red wine vinegar, and allow it to reduce by half.  Add your cherry tomatoes and olive segments to the pan and quickly toss them in the vinegar and pan juices and set aside.
  5. Arrange your chicken thighs in a dish and garnish with your tomatoes, olives, parsley and chilli threads.


  • You’ll notice that I only marinated the exposed side of the chicken thighs and not all over including the skin.  The reason being, the predominate cooking time is skin side down with the skin being in direct contact with the heat.  If you marinated the chicken entirely, the seasoning (chilli flakes and thyme) would end up scorching.  
  • People often make the mistake in incorrectly cooking chicken and fish, splitting their cooking time evenly between skin side down and up.  When in fact, it’s better to cook it skin side down for approximately 70% of the cooking time and remaining 30% skin side up.  So for example, if your total cooking time for a fillet of salmon with skin is 10mins.  Than you would cook it skin side down for approximately 7mins, turn it and cook it skin side up for another 2-3mins.  The reason being the skin helps act as a barrier, protecting the flesh during cooking.  It also allows time for the fat in and around the skin to properly render and baste the meat during cooking.
  • The lid helps retain heat within the pan and generate steam during cooking.  This heat/steam will allow you to cook the chicken more quickly, efficiently and evenly.  However, it’s important you don’t turn your chicken skin side up with the lid still on as the steam generated will make your skin soggy.    
  • It’s important you don’t really cook your tomatoes and olives, so that they retain their freshness and taste.  What you’re looking for is a quick vinaigrette between the pan juices and red wine vinegar, that you’ll than toss with your tomatoes and olives to make a mock salad as garnish.
  • This is a quick and simple chicken dish, that really emphasizes technique in fully utilizing simple ingredients to prepare a delicious dish.  



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