Chicken picatta isn’t something that I grew up with. My mother and aunts made a tremendous array of Italian dishes but no chicken picatta. I sometimes wonder if it’s a real Italian recipe and not something like Fettuccini Alfredo, which was invented in America. It’s a dish that I enjoy and order often when we go out to eat. Chicken with a lemon sauce, what’s not to like? Since I didn’t have a family recipe to go on, I looked through a few online. I put together a combination of things that appealed to me.
1 ½ lb cutlets
Salt and black pepper
¼ cup flour
Olive oil for browning
1 tbsp. finely chopped shallot (optional)
½ cup white wine
½ lemon cut into thin wedges
½ cup chicken stock
2 tbsps. rinsed capers
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
3 tbsps. butter
If you can’t get cutlets, 3 chicken breasts should give you 9 cutlets. Season the room temperature cutlets with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Shake off any excess flour and lightly brown in oil and remove. Cook in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Pour off chicken fat from pan if any. Add more oil and cook the shallots on low until soft. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
Add the lemon slices and sauté for a few minutes before adding the chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes and then lower the heat. Add the lemon juice, capers, parsley, and whisk in the butter. Pour the sauce over the cutlets and serve.
Pollo alla Potentina is a stewed chicken dish from the Basilicata region of Italy. My father’s parents were born there in a town called Laurenzana. The cuisine of Basilicata is typically highly spiced. You can use more than 3 chilis or leave then out. It’s up to you.
• 1 chicken cut into 10 pieces • 3 tsp butter • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1large onion, sliced • ¼ cup dry white wine • 3 bird’s eye or Calabrese chilis, seeded and minced • 1 tsp salt • 1 28 oz. canned whole tomatoes roughly crushed • 2 tbsp chopped basil • 2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley • Juice of 1 lemon
Brown the chicken in a pot with the butter and oil and remove.
Add the onion to the pot and cook until it’s slightly browned. Next, pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the minced pepper, tomato, and salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour, adding water if liquid gets too low.
Chicken Vesuvio is a standard in Chicago Italian restaurants but I got this recipe from a friend who owns a pizzeria in New York. He calls it Chicken and Potatoes but served in a Chicago tratoria it becomes Chicken Vesuvio. I used boneless, skinless thighs but you can use any parts that you like.
2 large russet potatoes cut into wedges 5 tbs. olive oil divided 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano divided 5 or 6 chicken thighs 4 tbs. butter 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves 1 cup chicken stock ¼ cup dry white wine 1 can of peas Salt and black pepper Juice of ½ lemon Chopped parsley
Set oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potatoes with salt, pepper, ½ tsp. oregano, and 3 tbs. oil until they’re well coated. Spread them out evenly in a baking dish and roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway. While the potatoes are cooking, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp. of oregano. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and without crowding the pan, lightly brown the chicken on both sides (about 10 minutes) and remove to a plate. The chicken will continue cooking later in the oven. Add the butter to the pan on medium heat. Lightly sauté the garlic (about 3 minutes) and then add the stock and wine to the pan. Simmer and cook for about 5-8 minutes while deglazing the pan. Pour the butter/garlic mixture over the potatoes in the baking dish and place the chicken over the top of the potatoes. Roast about 20-25 minutes. Add the peas and finish cooking under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Arrange the potatoes and chicken in a serving dish and pour the pan juices over it through a strainer to remove the sliced garlic (skip the strainer if you love garlic). Squeeze the lemon and sprinkle the parsley over the dish and serve.
Pan Roast Chicken and Vegetables is a fairly simple recipe and it’s a whole meal in one pan. I used thighs but you can use any parts you like.
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. black pepper
2 sliced garlic cloves
Turnip, Beet, Butternut Squash cut into ¾ in pieces
Salt and black pepper
Marinate the chicken in the first 5 ingredients for at least 3 hours:
Place the vegetables in a bowl and coat with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
Pre-heat oven to 425o
Make a layer of vegetables in a roasting pan. Place the chicken skin side up on top of the vegetables. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender, about 40 minutes.
Brine – Bring a quart of water to a boil. Stir in a ¼ cup of sugar and a ¼ cup salt and let it come to room temperature.
Equipment – A frying thermometer & a wire rack.
Put the chicken in a zip-lock bag, Pour in the cooled brine and refrigerate for 10 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken and let it dry slightly.
Pour the buttermilk into a bowl. In a large dish.mix the flour with the salt, paprika, and black pepper.Coat the chicken with the flour. Shake off excess and then dip it in the buttermilk. Let excess buttermilk drip off and then coat the chicken with flour again. Place it on a wire rack and let dry for half an hour.
Heat the oil to 350°. When you add the chicken pieces the temperature will fluctuate a bit. Try to keep it around 300-325°. Don’t crowd the pot. Cook the pieces for 5 minutes on one side, turn over and 8 minutes on the other side. A little longer for dark meat legs and thighs. Use a fork to turn them and be careful not to scrape off the coating. After you make this a few times you can judge doneness by color.
Drain chicken on a wire rack. Allow it to cool before serving.
It’s just right as it is but if you want to add a spark try some Nashville Hot Sauce on your chicken.Mix all of the ingredients together while the oil is hot and apply it to the chicken pieces with a pastry brush.
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Arroz Con Pollo – adapted from the Ellis Island Immigrant Cook Book
3 lbs. of chicken pieces (I used breasts and thighs cut into smaller pieces)
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper sliced thinly
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups hot chicken broth divided
juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp. saffron
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
Equipment – You’ll need a large oven proof pan with a cover for this. Mine is 15 inches. If you don’t have one that big, cut the recipe in half.
Preparation: Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the chicken until golden brown. Do same to pork and remove.
Sauté the pepper and onion in the drippings until the onions are transparent. Add tomato, parsley, garlic and bay leaf. Mix well and cook until soft. Set skillet aside.
Add the chicken and pork to the pan with the vegetables. Take 1 cup of broth and dissolve the saffron in it. Add the wine and lemon juice to the broth and pour this mixture into the skillet over the chicken and pork. Cover and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Add the rice between the chicken pieces. Add the remaining 2 cups of broth. Stir carefully. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the preheated 325° oven for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is done. Remove, let stand 15 minutes covered.
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Chicken with Vinegar, Raisins, and Onions – An interesting combination of flavors – with kind of a sweet and sour finish.
Boil the onions in salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove and place them in a bowl. Fry the pancetta in a pot until it browns. Remove and place it in a separate bowl.
Add the boiled onions to same pot with the pancetta fat and cook until they begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the chicken to pot starting skin side down and cook, turning, until browned. Transfer to bowl with onions.
Pour off the fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to the pot and bring to a boil and deglaze. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, browned chicken thighs, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken and onions to a platter. Continue cooking the sauce for another few minutes so it reduces. Spoon the sauce over chicken and onions and serve with pasta or rice.
I adapted this from an Alison Roman recipe that I found in the Food Section of the New York Times.
Mix the lemon and shallots in a bowl with salt and black pepper. Season the room temperature chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook, turning until both sides are deeply browned. Remove the chicken to a bowl and leave all the fat behind.
Add the lemon shallot mix to the pan and cook until the lemon starts to brown.
Add the spinach to the pan with salt and black pepper and a 1/3 cup oil, cover and lower the heat until it starts to wilt. Add the beans and mix gently so you don’t mash them. Return the chicken to the pan for a few minutes and serve.
Persian or more accurately, Iranian cuisine is more than just kabobs. Iran covers deserts and snowy mountains and its cuisine is just as varied as its landscape.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Soak saffron in 2 tbsps. warm water for 10 minutes. Crush with the back of a spoon and combine saffron, garlic and yogurt in a large bowl. Whisk until blended and smooth.
Add chicken, coat with yogurt mix, cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a large dish, mix flour, paprika, half of the mint, salt and pepper. Shake off excess marinade and coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.
Shake off excess flour and fry it until golden brown. I got this very large frying pan at a restaurant supply store. If yours isn’t that big, don’t crowd the pan – fry in batches if you need to. Be generous with the oil. It should come up to about 1/2 way to the thickness of the chicken pieces. If you’re using a thermometer, the internal temperature for thighs should be 165 degrees.
Drain and serve with the lemon wedges and sprinkled with the chopped walnuts and remaining mint.