It’s been a long while since I’ve let the joy of cooking work its magic on me. Sometimes the busyness of life can suck the energy and fun right out of you. Last week though, that was not the case. I bought an ingredient I don’t often cook with and tried a new recipe.
When we get bored with routine or downright unfulfilled with monotony, trying something new and breaking the mundane is exactly what we need.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts are always in my freezer, but it was chicken thighs that had me pan-searing and scraping up bits of deliciousness from my cast iron skillet on a Friday night in early February. The dish, Chicken Scarpariello with Sausage and Peppers, inspired by Bon Appetit magazine, is an American-Italian dish which literally means “shoemaker’s” style chicken.
Many schools of thought exist to explain this comparison, one being that even the family of a poor shoemaker in Southern Italy could afford to make it, while another boasts all of the ingredients can be easily “cobbled” together.
What I liked best about making this one-pot meal was steeling myself away in the kitchen, tying on my favorite, handmade waist apron, pouring a glass of wine and turning on Frank Sinatra. I cooked, taking time to read through the recipe, making note of special instructions. Roasted red potatoes are served alongside this dish, and the recipe reads clear: “Arrange cut side down and roast on lower rack until tender.” Sometimes we breeze by instructions like these, but it’s the cut side down and lower rack that matter most and help to achieve that crispy, golden brown goodness we all know and love.
With juicy chicken thighs, sweet Italian sausage, and a vinegary, sweet-sour pan sauce, the dish is full of flavor from the white wine, peppers and garlic. It isn’t a hard recipe to follow — in fact, it’s quite enjoyable. Perhaps my favorite part came when I got to “Nestle chicken into onion mixture.” What a cozy description to anticipate.
With Valentine’s Day just around the bend and love in the air, what better way to say “I love you,” than with a meal cooked from the heart. In 2020, I plan to make time for more of this — for the love of cooking.
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is the author of “Some Kinda Good,” a culinary TV personality and food enthusiast. She writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in-season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.
Chicken Scarpariello with Sausage & Peppers
Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine
1½ pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 links sweet Italian sausage
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 large onions, chopped
½ large red bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup chopped hot, sweet pickled Peppadew peppers in brine
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 sprigs rosemary
Chopped parsley (for serving)
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°. Toss potatoes with 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Arrange cut side down and roast on lower rack until tender and cut sides are browned, 20–30 minutes; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook sausages, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes (they will not be fully cooked). Transfer to a plate.
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook in same skillet, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides, 8–10 minutes (they will also be undercooked). Transfer to plate with sausage.
Cook onions, bell pepper, and garlic in same skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan, until tender and beginning to brown, 10–12 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and you can no longer smell the alcohol, about 8 minutes. Add broth, peppers, vinegar and rosemary and bring to a boil; cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Nestle chicken into onion mixture, then transfer skillet to upper rack of oven and roast chicken 10 minutes. Add sausages to skillet, pushing them into onion mixture, and continue to roast until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 5–10 minutes.
Top with parsley and serve with roasted potatoes alongside.