Pollo Arrosto Con Peperoni E Patate
My mother, Loretta, knew how to stretch a buck! She also knew how to make a great meal out of that buck. One of my favorite dishes growing up was Loretta’s ROAST CHICKEN WITH PEPPERS AND POTATOES, a one dish meal that was sooo delicious and was as economical as it was flavorful. This dish is one of those simple rustic dishes that looks almost too easy. In fact, it is so simple, you might be tempted to say, “So what?” That there is nothing “gimmicky” to this one – does not reduce its appeal. It is a combination of good ingredients – fresh for the most part – that come together for a satisfying result. This is the one you’ll be serving all through the cooler months and comes under the category of comfort food.
About Italian Chickens: Chickens have long been used in the Italian diet though not always for eating the birds. In old times, peasants kept their chicken for egg laying and usually only ate them when they were old and no longer producing. Then they would use them for soup. The well-to-do were able to raise them to eat. They were apt to roast and stuff them with all kinds of nuts, fruits, and berries. It is the Tuscans, who were and still are known for their chickens raised in the free range style and fed unusual foods from marigolds to goat’s milk for the purpose of enriching the yolks and making them vivid in color. Even though the Tuscans may tout their “cluckers” – you will be sure to find chickens all over Italy.
Let’s break it down: Loretta made this very often with a whole chicken cut into parts – something you certainly can do and enjoy – or even use white meat, if you prefer. However, I happen to like dark meat, and thighs are particularly tender and not very expensive. I love using thighs for this recipe. Their juicy and flavorful nature just seems made for it. I like the skin removed not only because of the extra fat, but also because there are enough juices generated in the dish, and the skin creates more that seems unnecessary. You can choose thighs with the bone in or boneless. To me, the boneless thighs just make the whole thing easier to eat.
Very often, Loretta made this dish by simply adding green peppers and potatoes to it. I so love yellow peppers that I like to use both yellow and green which made a pretty presentation and become very sweet upon roasting. I also add mushrooms, and sometimes use wild mushrooms when I can find nice ones. The garlic roasts beautifully into the dish, imparting its usual punch. However, the addition of just a little chopped pancetta take it to a deeper more complex flavor level. Nothing like a little pork to kick this dish straight through the goal posts! Ahhh! The herbs – always fresh and in abundance in any successful dish, this is no exception. The herbs in this beautiful dish are not chopped or minced, but instead, are added in sprig form and in larger pieces.
The aroma emanating from your kitchen will attract everyone within smelling distance, coming to discover what and who is responsible for this tantalizing intrusion to the senses.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH PEPPERS AND POTATOES
(Pollo Arrosto Con Peperoni E Patate)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: I hour 15 minutes approx
8 Skinned chicken thighs – boned if you like (If preferred, use assorted chicken parts or even breast meat)
1 Medium Onion – cut in large pieces
4 Large Gold Potatoes – skins on or off – up to you
1/2 lb. Mushrooms – Whole or cut in half
1 Green Pepper – cut in large pieces
1 Yellow Pepper – cut in large pieces
6-7 Cloves of Fresh Garlic – sliced
4 Slices Pancetta – chopped
A couple of Large Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary – broken into pieces
4-5 Springs Fresh Thyme
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Lay the chicken thighs in a large baking dish or pan. Sprinkle with Kosher Salt and Pepper and drizzle with a little Olive Oil.
Add the next 9 ingredients remaining ingredients.
Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil over all, and then add the salt and pepper.
Place the dish in a 350 degree oven and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cook time. ( You may or may not need the full cook time. When the chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork tender, it’s done.) Easy enough?
For a delicious pairing with ROAST CHICKEN WITH PEPPERS AND POTATOES, I like a medium bodied red wine like Amarone or Valpolicella. Either seems to hold up well to the rich flavors of the roasted vegetables, dark meat roasted chicken, and pancetta.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography
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