Spicy Sicilian Chicken
Here’s a beautiful one-pot meal that will make you feel like you’re eating at a fancy Italian restaurant. I love all the bright colors mixed with sweet, salty and briny flavors of olives and capers. I almost skipped this recipe because it contains eggplant (apparently I was traumatized by eggplant at some point in my life) which to me tastes very much like how a State Fair smells. I couldn’t gag it down no matter how I tried. But I’m happy to report I put on my Big Girl Panties and devoured this deeply flavorful Italian chicken dish like it was my last meal on death row.
Spicy Sicilian Chicken
adapted from the cookbook, “Molto Italiano” by Mario Batalli
2 lbs chicken breast or thighs or whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (see NOTE 1)
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling at the end)
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (see NOTE 2)
2 ribs celery cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small eggplant, cubed
2 med-large carrots cut into rounds
2 bell peppers of any color (or a combo), cored, seeded and cut into strips
1 (15 oz) can fire roasted, diced tomatoes or 4-5 plum tomatoes cut into chunks
1/2 cup Sicilian olives or Castelvetrano olives, pitted (see NOTE 3)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and patted dry
5 dried hot chiles (MED: Guajillo, Ancho, Pasilla, HOT: de Arbol, MELT-YOUR-FACE: Thai Bird, Thai Birdseye)
1 1/2 cups dry red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel) (see NOTE 4). Omit for Whole30/Paleo
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint (not dried)
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian Parsley (see NOTE 5)
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes. (see NOTE 6)
1. Traditionally, all pieces of the chicken are used but if you prefer to use all breasts or all thighs or a combination of both, it still works.
2. Russets work well because they keep their firm texture after cooking. Other potatoes get smoosh.)
3. Use Sicilian olives to be traditional, but Castelvetrano olives are “the world’s best olives”, they are delicious, not too “briny” and you can find them at most grocery chains in the USA, including Walmart. I use kalamata olives as a last resort because I couldn’t find the other olives locally. They are Greek in origin, but if you live in a town of 500 like I do and don’t feel like taking a day trip to the city, you get what you can get and make it work. The photo shows Kalamata olives which, as I mentioned, are not traditional to the dish but everyone had seconds so it was still incredibly good!
4. Please don’t use “cooking wine” because it barely contains wine and it’s mixed with “spirits” and other unnecessary ingredients.
5. Make sure you get the Italian parsley with flat leaves and a fresh, robust flavor. Do NOT get the curly parsley because it is flavorless and is used for decoration, not cooking.
6. Yes, you are adding more heat to the dish, I told you it was spicy!
(After opening, click the trash can to remove the areas you don’t want to print. It’s a crappy format but the only option I have on this format. Sorry.)