My Dad has the best cookbooks in his kitchen. They are all grease-stained, dog-eared, and piled up on the corners of his counter. I love rummaging through them whenever I visit to get inspiration for new dishes. On my last visit, I stumbled across Marcella Hazan’s “Fricasséed Chicken Abruzzi Style” recipe in her book Marcella Cucina.* Abruzzo is a region in Italy and this dish celebrates its many resources including wine, olives, rosemary, tomatoes, and garlic. The chicken is seared to a golden brown and the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender from a long, low simmer. I’m not even that hot on olives, but I gobble them up in this recipe. I finish the pan sauce with a splash of cream to balance out all of the flavors. I serve it with tons of crusty bread and a big side salad. Yum.
You really need very ripe, fresh tomatoes to make this dish work. Depending on your grocery store or farmer’s market, try and pop one in your mouth before you buy to make sure they are the quality you’re looking for!
I know I say this every single post, but this dish is really easy to make and hassle free, yet it has a very unique, layered taste. You can really play with this and make it your own by upping the garlic or chili or adding different herbs. My dad suggests adding Jerusalem artichokes to the pan with the tomatoes and olives, which I’m sure would be amazing. This is a really fun dish that I hope becomes a staple for you!
* I wouldn’t dare say this is “my take” on Marcella’s recipe. Instead, this was inspired by her dish.
- 6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in (or whatever is equivalent to 1 ¾ pounds)
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 or 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped fine
- salt, to taste
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon chopped serrano chili
- ½ cup white wine
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 12 niçoise olives
- Cream, for finishing
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels
- Put the oil, garlic, and rosemary in a skillet and turn to HIGH
- Add the chicken skin side down and sear until well browned, about 9 minutes (Note you will have so much smoke in your kitchen, so open a window unless you enjoy the sweet symphony of smoke detectors going off)
- Turn over and cook another 8-9 minutes
- Sprinkle with salt to taste and add the chili, turning the pan juices and chicken a few times with a wooden spoon
- Add the wine and scrape any brown bits as it bubbles
- Cover and turn down the heat to LOW, cook for 35 minutes until the meat falls off the bone, turning the chicken a few times as it cooks (Note: if the pan ever looks dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water at a time)
- Uncover and add the tomatoes and olives, cooking on MEDIUM LOW until the tomato skins crack, about 6 or 7 minutes
- Remove the chicken and cover on a plate
- Keep stirring the sauce until it thickens
- Add a splash of cream
- Return the chicken to the pan and serve with the sauce spooned over