Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Martini Chicken #Recipe by @Leslie Karst

My father dearly loved his Martinis, and in my younger years, before I came to appreciate the elegance and simplicity of the cocktail, he would tell me, "You haven't suffered enough to enjoy a Martini." Well, I can't say I've experienced a whole lot of suffering in my life (though studying the the bar exam is up there), but I have become quite the gin aficionado over the past decade and have come to love Martinis almost as much as my father.

Dad would have been 92 this coming Saturday, so in his honor, I present a dish inspired by his favorite drink.

one on the rocks (as my dad liked them)

Several years ago, as I was perusing a cookbook—Food and Wine magazine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes—for ideas, I came across an entry entitled Chicken with Olives and Pine Nuts. It called for Italian olives and white wine. But why not, I decided, substitute Martini olives and dry vermouth, and call it Martini Chicken, in honor of my father?

Martini Chicken for Dad


1 T olive oil
1 T butter
6 cloves garlic
6 chicken thighs (or breasts, if you prefer)
salt and pepper
4 bay leaves
30 small Martini (aka Spanish) olives
1/2 cup dry (white) vermouth


Start by heating olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet:

While it's heating, coarsely chop the garlic cloves.

Once the butter is melted, salt and pepper your chicken, then lay the pieces in the pan, skin side down, scattering the garlic and bay leaves around the chicken:

Cover the pan (I used foil since I didn’t have a lid that fit my skillet), and let the chicken brown over a moderate heat for about ten minutes:

Turn the chicken,

and then continue cooking, still covered, for another ten or fifteen minutes—until the chicken is cooked through.

Spoon off any excess fat,

and then scatter the olives around the chicken and pour in the dry vermouth:

Raise the heat so that the liquid is boiling, and cook uncovered, deglazing the pan as it simmers, until most of liquid has evaporated:

I served the chicken over tri-colored rotini pasta, garnished with the remaining liquid in the pan and chopped parsley (discard the bay leaves):

I highly recommend this dish. The meat was tender with a crispy skin, and the salty olives went swimmingly with the tart vermouth.

And cheers, Dad! I'll be toasting you come Saturday!

🍸 🌿 🐓

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


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  1. Sounds delicious Leslie! and I love your father saying you hadn't suffered enough to enjoy a martini. that's a classic!

    1. I know; I love it, Roberta! Maybe I should put it in a book...

  2. Love how memories keep our loved one close and how food can trigger those memories!

    Great sounding recipe that definitely deserves trying.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. So very true, Kay. Food is such a powerful memory trigger.

  3. This recipe sounds delish. I do love a good dirty martini. Could you share his recipe for building the perfect martini?

    1. He'd just pour a jigger of gin over ice, add a cap-full of dry vermouth, drop in several Spanish olives, then stir it all together with his finger. So very suave, non?

    2. Oh, and although Dad wasn't fond of dirty Martinis, I love them!

  4. What a fun and delish recipe, Leslie. A lovely tribute to your dad too. Hugs. MJ

  5. Wonder how this would be if you used the gin instead of the vermouth?
    It looks great on the tri-color pasta.

    1. Gin wouldn't add as much flavor as vermouth, I'm thinking. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a little gin as well!

  6. I love what your dad said about martinis. That one sentence says so much about him, and that you celebrate it says so much about you. Very cool.

    1. Not sure how to do a heart emoji in the comments, but here's my attempt: <3

  7. Sounds delish, Leslie. My dad also loved martinis and sometimes Gibsons (made with pickled onions in place of olives)mostly during the hot/warm months. Occasionally G&T's. Otherwise it was Scotch on the rocks. My baby brother took it upon himself to become the bartender and have Dad's drink ready when he came home from work. Nice memoriess.

    1. I love Gibsons, too, Lynn! Sometimes I order a "Gibtini" at bars, with both an olive and an onion.

  8. 6/24/2021

    Dear One,
    My Blogger Header is messed up today! After years of no problems.

    Thank you for your instructions, on how to fix it, by going into "the bowels of my settings." But I can not. -sigh-

    But thank you anyway.

    This is horrible and I can not make contact with Blogger itself.


    "Beside a babbling brook" blog