Mougins, nestled in the hills above Cannes, first became noted for its art; Picasso being the most famous of its erstwhile residents. Nowadays Mougins is also famed for its fine restaurants. I have come across many versions of Chicken Provencal over the years but none so good as is served in one of my favourite restaurants in Mougins. This is my version of it. It is easy and quick to prepare but because of the short cooking time, make sure you use only the very best quality chicken.
Don’t worry about the amount of rosemary – it is what makes this dish so special. Some people don’t like to eat whole rosemary leaves so if that’s you, strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and finely chop them almost to a powder before cooking.
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
6 shallots, peeled and halved
½ red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
½ green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
½ yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 long sprigs of fresh rosemary (each sprig 10cm (4 inches) long)
4 bay leaves
12 pitted green olives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g (14oz) tin of cherry tomatoes (preferably Mutti)
Heat the oil in a large thick based saucepan. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Turn the heat down and continue to sauté gently until nearly cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Add the red onions, shallots, peppers and garlic to the pan and stir-fry until starting to soften (approx. 4 minutes). Add the rosemary, bay leaves and olives, season with salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the onions and peppers start to colour.
Pour in the cherry tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is hot and cooked through.
I like to serve this dish with roasted potatoes and pan-fried courgettes.