Chicken Scarpariello is a favorite dish for both my husband and my daughter Claire. Margot and I don’t have the tolerance they do and I’ve never had the courage to order it. For those of you unfamiliar with this dish, it’s chicken (or veal or pork) with hot (and I mean HOT) cherry peppers, fennel and in some instances sausage.
Chicken Scarpariello is also a favorite of our friends Bob & Lynn. I decided I would venture forth and make it for Bobby’s birthday because it’s one of his very favorite dishes, along with the Ricotta Cheesecake that I created for him a few years ago.
I read a bunch of recipes and decided how I wanted to proceed. Even though Eric and Lynn don’t like chicken on the bone with the sink on, I had to make it that way. Bobby and I love it and cooking with the skin and bone on keeps the chicken moist and flavorful. I deboned and skinned the breast for Eric an Lynn and Bobby and I ate the dark meat bone- in and with the crispy skin – our favorite parts!
When I opened the jar of hot cherry peppers and took a whiff, I gasped. The heat went straight up my nose and down my throat and burned. I knew I was in trouble, but no turning back!
I seared the chicken, removed to a holding dish and then sauteed the fennel, onions, sweet bell peppers, garlic and oregano in olive oil. Once the vegetables softened, I added white wine and 1/4 cup of the bottled pepper juice and some red potatoes. The chicken went back in the pan with a half a jar of the peppers strewn across the pan.
Note: I omitted the sausages because Lynn doesn’t eat them. To include, just give a quick sear to brown in the pan after searing the chicken, then set aside with the chicken. Add back to the pan with the chicken and cherry peppers as instructed above.
The dish can be made ahead up to this point and held, covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Let the pan sit on the counter for an hour before baking to warm up a bit.
Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes or a little longer if refrigerated. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken to a warm platter and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five minutes. Check your potatoes to see if they need a few minutes more. Add the vegetables to the platter with the chicken.
Stir in the butter off heat and whisk until melted.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and peppers, garnish with fennel fronds.
The sauce is very spicy. I served it on the side. The chicken and vegetables are flavorful and have tolerable heat, but the sauce brings that heat to another level. I wasn’t able to handle it. Everyone else couldn’t get enough of it. I though my husband was going to drink it!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole roasting chicken cut into eight pieces
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 sausages, such as sweet or hot Italian or Chorizo
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 each yellow and red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup hot cherry pepper juice
- 1 pound tiny red potatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ jar hot cherry peppers
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Garnish: Fennel fronds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat.
- Season the chicken, both sides, with the salt and pepper.
- Sear the chicken for three minutes, skin slide down. Don’t crowd the pan, sear in batches as needed.
- Turn and cook for one minute more.
- Remove the chicken to a holding dish.
- Sear the sausages, if using and remove to the dish with the chicken.
- Stir in the fennel, onion, garlic and oregano and sweat for 3 minutes.
- Pour in the pepper juice and wine, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan by scrapping the fond with a wooden spoon. Reduce the liquid to one-quarter cup.
- Add the chicken stock and then return the sausage and chicken to the pan, skin side up. Add the cherry peppers.
- Note: The chicken can be made ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or a little longer if refrigerated. The chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 175ºF on a meat thermometer.
- Remove the chicken to a warm platter and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five minutes. Check your potatoes to see if they need a few minutes more. Add the vegetables to the platter with the chicken.
- Stir in the butter off heat and whisk until melted.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and peppers, garnish with fennel fronds.