This recipe is by Carol Field from her cookbook In Nonna’s Kitchen. Many people in the Tuscan countryside have raised chickens, ducks, and rabbits and cooked them interchangeably in recipes like this one. Duck and rabbit may be harder to find and cost more than chicken in America, but tell that to a Tuscan contadina and you’ll get a look of surprise. Emma Grassi Bensi’s addition of nutmeg and grated lemon zest gives the sauce an elegance beyond its rustic beginnings. Be sure to serve it with lots of bread. This dish is delicious the next day.
About the Bruglione: When porcini mushrooms appear in the Italian countryside, men set off before dawn, roving the hillsides in search of patches of the wild mushrooms with their intoxicating musky taste. Anna Marezza lives in Chianti where she makes bruglione with fresh porcini that grow in the woods and arrive in the markets of nearby Panzano. Few of us will be so lucky. Combining fresh brown or crimini mushrooms, which have a dark nutty flavor, with some dried porcini that have been soaked in warm water to release their flavor, is a splendid solution. This combination of mushrooms and potatoes cooked to a creamy stew is delicious with roast chicken, pork, and any simple meat dish.
For this recipe you will need to cut down your whole chicken into parts. If in doubt how to do this, here is a How To video by our in-house butcher extraordinaire Melissa Cortina.
For the Pollo alla Contadina
- Whole chicken – cut into 8 pieces
- 3 TB extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic Clove, minced
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (optional: peel and seed the tomato)*
- *if fresh ripe are not available, use whole canned tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- Salt & ground black pepper
- Warm 1 TB of the olive oil in a heavy skillet or saute pan, add the chicken pieces and saute over medium-high heat until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning frequently to brown them evenly.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a tray or plate and add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary, and lemon zest to the pan. Stir everything around and season well with salt and pepper. Cover, and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When vegetables are soft, remove the lid, turn up the heat to medium high, and pour in the red wine. Allow the wine to simmer until it is almost completely reduced, and then add the tomatoes and stock.
- Add the chicken back into the pan, cover, and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you don’t have an oven thermometer, cut into a piece to be sure it’s opaque all the way through).
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. If you would like a thicker sauce, you may reduce the liquid on the stove top, or put it in the blender and strain it. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.