Well, I was rather shocked when I logged into my blog to see that it has been over two years since I last posted a recipe! And so, after some nagging, I mean, encouragement from my sisters and niece I thought it was high time to post once more.
This recipe is from Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking published in America in 1995 originally by First View Books and then by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in 1996 which is when I got to know the book because at that time Stewart, Tabori & Chang was a client publisher of mine. This recipe book has become something of a favourite of mine so too of my friend Heather.
I have taken a couple of liberties with this recipe one of which is that I omit the olives. It’s not that I don’t like olives, but I much prefer to eat them stuffed with garlic, or anchovy, or pimento accompanied by an aperitif or plopped into a dry martini. The second liberty, more of a short-cut really, is that I often don’t bother dipping the chicken pieces in the egg-wash. I will, however, include the egg-wash in the method and you can decide for yourself.
Elodia’s recipe calls for a 3-4lb chicken cut into eight pieces however I find it much easier to use pre-packed chicken thighs. Depending on how plump the thighs are I find that one thigh per person is enough when accompanied with the sauce and pasta. And on that note, I follow Elodia’s suggestion and serve my chicken Apulia with farfalle (bow-tie pasta).
What you’ll need for four people as a main course is:
- 4 chicken thighs with skin and bone in
- Olive oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Flour for dipping
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 large stalks of celery chopped
- 1 tin of tomatoes (400gr/14oz)
- 1 handful of fresh basil or 1 to 2 tsp of dried basil
- 113gr (4oz/½ cup) sliced olives if desired
- 1 – 2 tbs capers
- ½ tsp sugar
- 113 ml (4 fl. oz/ ½cup) white wine
- Salt and pepper
What you’ll need to do:
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4
- Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish large enough to take the chicken pieces in one layer.
- Coat each pieces of chicken in the beaten egg then coat with flour and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove chicken pieces to a warm plate. NB Simply brown the pieces and do not over-cook because the chicken will be baked in the oven later
- If you prefer to skip the stage above (egg or flour intolerance for example or to simply cut out a messy bit of the process) follow the instructions above for frying the chicken.
- Add the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil (add a bit more if you think you might need it) and sauté for a few minutes ensuring you do not brown the onions and garlic.
- Add the celery and sauté for a further few minutes
- Add the tomatoes, wine (rinse the tomato can with the wine to get the remnants of the juices from the tin) basil, olives (if using) capers and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes and check the seasoning adding salt and pepper if desired.
- Place chicken pieces back into the casserole, pop the lid on and shove it into the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Check that the chicken is cooked through.
To serve put a portion of the farfalle onto your pasta plate (you could dress the pasta with melted butter and chopped chives for that extra élan) then a dollop of the sauces followed by the chicken. I tend to remove the skin and take the meat off the bone before serving especially if I am serving this dish to guests.
For a vegetarian version simply leave the chicken out and simmer the veggie sauce on top of the cooker/stove.