My son came home from work and told me that one of the guys brought in this chicken dish with peppers for lunch. It smelled delicious so he inquired what it was and was told Chicken Scarpariello. I had never heard of it before but told him I would look it up and try to make it for dinner.
The first one I made was not that great so I ditched that recipe and continued to look. The second recipe was definitely better but it took a few times making it, to develop it into the recipe it is now.
I am not crazy about rosemary in cooking and prefer the subtle flavor of thyme. The oil amount was perfect for cooking but not draining it produced a really greasy dish, so that had to go. I thought cooking the thyme and garlic separately would be a good idea but it produced so much splatter that I thought I would never make it again. Doing what the recipe said was much better. Still some splatter but not excessive. Make sure to reduce the chicken broth. Not reducing enough makes it saucier but the flavor is just not there. The Peppadew pepper (www.peppadewusa.com) is an essential ingredient. I am able to find them at ShopRite near the deli section, on top of the specialty cheeses. They come in mild and hot. I use the mild version.
It has now become one of our regulars on the dinner menu rotation. It is also a great lunch item, warmed up and placed on a crusty/soft Kaiser roll.
Chicken Scarpariello (Food and Wine October 2010)
8 small skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
flour for dusting
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled, halved lengthwise and lightly smashed
4 fresh large thyme sprigs, broken into 2 inch pieces (you should have about 14, 2 inch pieces)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Peppadew peppers, sliced in thirds
Place a large piece of waxed paper on the counter. Take each piece of chicken and unfold it from it’s chicken thigh shape. Place it on the waxed paper. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper then sprinkle the chicken with flour, covering lightly but thoroughly. Turn chicken over and repeat. Take each piece of chicken and dredge it the flour/salt/pepper that is on the waxed paper. Then lightly pat it so that the flour mixture adheres, turn it over and do the same. You might have to repeat this until the chicken is nicely covered with the flour mixture. Continue with each piece of chicken until most of the flour/pepper/salt is gone.
Heat oil in a large heavy non stick saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. It may seem that there is not enough room in the pan but there is. The chicken shrinks a bit. Just put the chicken in, it will be tight but you will be fine. Cook for 15 minutes, turning half way through. The chicken will develop a nice brown crust. Add the garlic and thyme (wedging it between the chicken pieces) and cook for 3 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the thyme and garlic in the saucepan. Take the saucepan off the heat and using the lid (see picture below), pour off all the oil into a bowl that has been placed in the sink, keeping the garlic and thyme in the pan. Discard the oil later when it has cooled.
Return the sauce pan to the stove/burner and add the chicken stock to the skillet. Cook over high heat, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the lemon juice and butter and stir until combined. Return the chicken and any juice to the skillet. Add the peppers and cook, turning the chicken until nicely coated in the sauce, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately over rice, potatoes, noodles or with a nice crusty bread.
mise en place:
flour, salt and pepper:
oil (it’s a lot):
add chicken and cook:
add garlic and thyme and cook:
set chicken aside:
drain oil using the lid as shown, hold lid tightly and tilt to drain:
leaving garlic and thyme:
add chicken broth and reduce:
while waiting cut up peppers:
add butter and lemon juice:
add peppers and chicken, cook: