The Literate Chef

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chicken Scarpiello alla Chef Scar

In Chicken, Meat, Recipes on June 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM


10 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
10 sweet Italian sausages
12 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2/3 cup of flour
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of dry white wine
3 12 oz. jars of marinated and quartered artichoke hearts with their liquid
5 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves removed and chopped


1.    In a large stainless steel frying pan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, add the sausages and brown them until substantially cooked, about 25 minutes. When done, remove them from the pan, let then cool and then cut them into ¾ inch pieces, set aside. Pour off the liquid fat, but leave the frond. Deglaze the pan with one-half  of the wine, pour it off the liquid and reserve for step 6. Clean the pan.
2.    While the sausages are frying, add the flour to a one-gallon sized zip lock bag and add the black pepper.
3.    Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and add them, 3 pieces at a time, to the bag. Seal it and shake it well, thoroughly coating the chicken.
4.    After all the chicken pieces are floured, add the olive oil to the cleaned frying pan and heat it on medium high, add the garlic and saute until dark brown then remove the garlic.
5.    Add the floured chicken pieces without overcrowding them and brown on medium-high for 6 minutes, then turn them and brown for 6 minutes more. (Note, Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in two batches, or use 2 pans for the chicken.)  When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan or pans and deglaze with the remaining wine.
6.    Return the chicken to the pan, bring the wine to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, turn the chicken, add the sausage pieces and their reserved liquid and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
7.    Add the artichoke hearts and their liquid to the pan. Raise the heat to high and cook for 5 minutes turning the chicken once or twice.
8.    Add the oregano; let the flavors blend by cooking for another two minutes or so while turning the chicken and sausages several times.

Note: This recipe makes enough for about 6 people and can be prepared in advance and reheated.

See Related Article

Chicken Scarpiello; Everybody Makes it Differently!

In General Articles on June 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM

One of the interesting things that I have discovered about Italian cooking is that unlike French cooking, and notwithstanding the opus of Pellegrino Artusi, The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well, there does not appear to be a codification of recipes for Italian cuisine. This is explained very succinctly by Anna Marie Volpi on her website.

The first time I had Chicken Scarpiello was at a now defunct neighborhood restaurant on Allerton Avenue and Boston Post Road in the Bronx. During the 1970s and 80s, we used to visit Gino’s regularly, it had good food, a decent wine list, reasonable prices, a lively crowd and valet parking. What more could one ask for? Maybe the food wasn’t particularly adventurous and perhaps the chef wasn’t a celebrity, but the place was reliable. I never had a bad meal at Gino’s, R.I.P.!

Their Chicken Scarpiello was served, with its skin, on the bone, making it very moist, but difficult to eat and a bit too greasy for my arteries. But they served it with sausage and that, in my opinion made it special…as a matter of fact, anything with sausage is special (be sure to check out my Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage.)

The next time I saw Chicken Scarpiello on a menu, I ordered it fully expecting to see it come out like Gino’s. This time there was no sausage, and I, in my naiveté, inquired of the waiter as to what happened to the sausage. His haughtily delivered reply was that Chicken Scarpiello was NEVER served with sausage; my first lesson in the vagaries of Italian cucina.

After several more restaurant disappointments with Chicken Scarpiello, I developed my own recipe, Chicken Scarpiello alla Chef Scar,and now I will share it here. This recipe went through several iterations with the chicken, as I struggled to find the right combination. I started with chicken breasts and wanting to reduce the grease level, I first removed the skin and quartered the breasts, but that still left the little bone particles. Next I tried skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, also known as chicken cutlets, but upon cooking they dried out too soon. Realizing that chicken thighs might retain their moisture longer, I substituted skinless thighs in the next development stage. This was a great improvement and since the thighs only had a large bone, this solved the splintered bone issue. Then I discovered skinless, boneless, chick thighs and found the right combination.

What’s next you ask, how about some more pork. After all, it is ‘the other white meat’. Check it out at: Midnight (and Calvados) in Paris

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