Baked Chicken with Olives, Turnips, and Turnip Greens
Recipe type: Poultry
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 12 baby turnips; with greens (or 3 regular turnips plus 1/2 bunch fresh turnip greens)
  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds); quartered
  • 1 small yellow or white onion; halved, sliced thin
  • 1 large tomato; cut into 1" wedges
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon hot or mild paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 Cup white wine
  • 1 Cup Picholine or other mild green olive; not pitted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If using baby turnips, trim and scrub them, saving the greens. Cut the turnips in half and set aside. If using regular turnips, peel them and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch wedges. Set aside. Thinly shred the greens, wash and drain them, and set aside.
  3. Place the chicken, onion, tomato, bay leaf, paprika, salt, pepper, and wine in an oven dish large enough to hold the ingredients in one crowded layer. Turn to coat, winding up with the chicken skin-side up. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and continue baking uncovered for 25 minutes, until the chicken is almost done.
  4. Remove the cover and turn the chicken over again (skin-side up again). Tuck the turnips and olives under the chicken and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the turnips are tender and the chicken is golden on top. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the turnip greens, and cook uncovered for 3 minutes more, until the greens wilt. Serve right away.
  5. This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
I cooked a variation of this dish, made with duck rather than chicken and without the turnip greens, for the first-ever meal served at Berkeley's world-famous Chez Panisse restaurant on August 28, 1971. I don't know why I chose it for the opener, except its elements appealed to my French-cuisine style at the time, and also to my Armenian taste for turnips and olives. Dinner was rather later than advertised, we were all novices in the restaurant business, and was not quite perfect that night. I have made the dish countless times since. Adding turnip greens is one of my favorite latter-day innovations.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 24 Calories; trace Fat (9.8% calories from fat); trace Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 317mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Vegetable.
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