Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Vesuvio - a Chicago Classic

I've never been to Chicago.  Some day I will.  In the meantime, I trust Marie of "Proud Italian Cook", who lives in Chicago.  Marie shared her recipe for Chicken Vesuvio, a while ago. She says that this dish is a Chicago American-Italian traditional dish. I trust her expertise.  There's a reason why I chose "A Feast for the Eyes" as the name of my food blog.  I'm so highly visual, that if I see a delectable photo of something to eat I am completely driven for a need to make it!  I can look at photos, even if I'm not hungry, and still drool over the vision that is before me.  That's the effect I had when I saw Cathy, of Wives with Knives, photo of this dish.  It was the final push for me to jump in and make it for myself.

This dish has a lot going for it, besides tasting great.  It's easy to make. It's not too expensive, especially if you keep white wine on hand at all times (which I do). I made only a few minor changes to their versions.

First, I only used two large bone-in chicken breasts (but you can use both dark and white meat), that I seasoned with salt & pepper, dried oregano and granulated garlic. (Just be sure that the chicken has been patted dry, so that you'll get a beautiful brown sear.) The prep work isn't too time-consuming-- maybe 15 minutes cut potatoes and peel whole cloves of fresh garlic.  I used red potatoes, so I didn't have to peel the potatoes.  I think these are the perfect choice for this dish, but use whatever spuds you have on hand.

I used my large cast iron skillet and heated some olive oil and a little unsalted butter, for extra flavor.  Skin side down, on medium-high heat, sear the chicken and brown the potatoes (from 5-7 minutes).

Then, flip the chicken and potatoes to brown them on both sides. By the way, the reason I don't recommend using boneless chicken, is that the meat has a tendency to dry out.  Bone-in, pretty much guarantees moist chicken.

If you adapt this recipe, as I did, I made this a one skillet recipe. I simply removed the chicken and potatoes and set them aside on a plate. Otherwise, you'll transfer the chicken and potatoes to a roasting pan.  Next, I added the whole garlic cloves to the skillet and cooked them until golden brown (just don't burn them on a high heat).  Now, add some white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc) to deglaze the pan, and get those lovely bits of brown flavor loosened up.  NOTE: Though I used half the amount of chicken in the recipe, I didn't decrease the sauce. Cathy said it was so good, that I wanted more for myself.

White wine and garlic makes us hungry!  Both my son and husband were sniffing the aroma, and saying that something smelled really good.  I had to break it to them, that they had about another hour to wait... add some chicken stock and then reduce the sauce on medium-high heat for about five minutes.  If you're using a separate roasting pan, you pour this sauce over the chicken.

I did the reverse, and returned the chicken and potatoes back into the skillet, then popped into a 375F oven. I guestimated about 45 minutes (165F internal temperature) for the chicken to be cooked.  In the meantime, tidied my kitchen and washed most of my utensils so that I could have less cleanup after eating dinner.

 In the last 15 minutes, I added about one cup of frozen peas.

There's a lot of sauce, since I doubled the liquid recipe.  The aroma is enough to make anyone hungry!

This is comfort food, in my book.

TASTING NOTES:  My son prefers dark meat.  He said that this was the first time he'd eaten a chicken breast that tasted really moist and flavorful.  My husband went back for thirds seconds on the potatoes.  This dish has a European flavor, with that thin pan sauce.  I would definitely make this recipe again, and I'll use a whole cut up chicken.  I wish I'd had some crusty bread to soak up the sauce, because it is really flavorful.

As always, a printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post. I'd like to thank both Marie and Cathy for inspiring me to try this Chicago dish.  It's delicious and easy!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did,


Chicken Vesuvio

        <p>Chicken Vesuvio is a classic Chicago dish. I&#8217;ve never been to Chicago, but two of my food blog friends made and shared this recipe.  I&#8217;m always game to make a skillet dinner on a weeknight, and I adapted this recipe just slightly by using ...     

        See Chicken Vesuvio on Key Ingredient.     


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Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I love going to all the great restaurants in Chicago but I have not been lucky enough to have had Chicken Vesuvio before. This is a great looking dish that I will be preparing very soon.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

OK, now I've got to make this dish. With recommendations like that, it's got to be good. I love both Marie's blog and Wives with Knives too.

Big Dude said...

I've had this on my try soon list since seeing it on the other blogs and now with a third recommendation, I have to move it up. Yours looks delicious.

Joanne said...

I'm pretty sure Giada has a version of this that I've always been intrigued by. I definitely trust you and Marie over her though! Fabulous.

Kim said...

I've always wanted to try this dish too, Debby. It just seems like the perfect Sunday Supper and also a recipe that everyone would love. I have to say that I'd probably do what your husband did and have more than my share of potatoes..ha ha!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Reading your recipe makes me hungry all over again for this delicious chicken dish. Like your son, I prefer dark meat and think I will make this next time with bone-in, skin-on thighs. And I love the way the potatoes soak up all that wonderful sauce. Thanks so much for the link, Debby, and I'm very happy you and your guys enjoyed this dish.

Proud Italian Cook said...

When I saw Cathy's photo I was tempted to make this but my husband would have divoriced me if I put on the oven! There are many different versions of this another way I love is adding artichokes along with the peas, so good soaking in the sauce! The most popular way is with bone in chicken but make sure you have plenty of napkins! Come to Chicago will meet and have some chicken vesuvio!

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

This was shared by Cathy of Wives with Knives on my Fresh Food Friday and I chose to feature it....It truly must be a winner with so many foodie bloggers making it and endorsing it. Debby, you have just got to get to Chi-town....stop by my blog to read my photo-tour post of my July visit with my son this past july. I've fallen in love with that has been transformed!
And I'd be thrilled to meet you there.....sort of half way between California and the Carolina's, huh? So much food culture there and great food and (regular) shopping. Not too mention the superb eateries!

Cheryl said...

That is beautiful I will need to keep this ready for Fall weather (which I am ready for already)

Mini Baker said...

this looks really great!!! so wholesome :)
-mini baker
ps. i have a giveaway going on on my blog right now, come enter!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have seen a few variations on a vesuvio dish in cookbooks, but I never knew it was a Chicago specialty - and I've been to Chicago a few times! Thanks for the interesting tidbit of info!

Becki's Whole Life said...

I remember seeing this on Wives with Knives and thinking how wonderful it looked. Your pictures are making me hungry, too. I love that this all cooks together and is essentially a whole supper (although I would probably still serve with a salad.) I am going to have to try this very soon - yum!!

Thibeault's Table said...

Wow!!! Great Photos.