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The first time I had this dish was in a restaurant in Clifton, New Jersey. My wife and I were on our way to see her mom in Pennsylvania and we stumbled across a restaurant on the way. I saw someone eating it at the table next to us and asked them what it was. Chicken, sausage, potatoes, and peppers, all cooked together in a vinegary brine. Sold.
I reverse-engineered a recipe for myself, and have been enjoying it ever since. Even so, we still always stop at the restaurant to have it whenever it’s on our way.
6 to 8
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water or chicken stock
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage (chicken or pork, as you prefer)
1 whole 3-3.5lb chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup flour, plus extra to thicken the sauce, if needed
1 Tbsp Pierre Poivre
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
2 large bell peppers (any color you like), seeded and diced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jar peperoncino peppers, with brine
1 jar cherry or peppadew peppers, with brine
Optionally, make a quick stock (this makes the recipe close to zero-waste). Place the chicken giblets, neck, back, and wing tips in a small pot, along with any onions ends and skins. Add 2 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to just below a boil and let simmer while you prepare everything else. If using chicken stock just heat the stock with the bay leaf.
Lightly coat the inside of a large roasting pan or casserole with olive oil.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into 1/4″ thick slices, microwave or boil until just tender, then add them to the pan.
Cut the sausage into bite sized pieces and brown In a large stainless sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove and add to the pan with the potatoes.
Mix the flour with the Pierre and use to coat the chicken pieces. Add some olive oil to the skillet if didn't get enough from the sausage (you’ll want a good layer of fat on the bottom), and fry the chicken on both sides over medium heat until browned, then add to your roasting pan. Save any leftover flour/Pierre mixture.
Now sauté the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms until brown in spots and softened (about 5-6 minutes), then add to the roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Strain your stock directly into the pan you used for frying, and scrape the bottom to dissolve all of the browned bits, add your garlic, then reduce by half. Add 1 cup of either of the brines (your choice depending on how hot/sweet you like it). Optionally, you can use red wine vinegar and two teaspoons of salt if you don’t have brine or prefer less heat.
Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the leftover flour you used to bread the chicken, and stir until you have a loose paste. If you don’t have any leftover flour use 2 tablespoons. Use the olive oil/flour mixture to thicken the sauce (you’ll want to bring the heat to just under a boil and stir frequently), then add the sauce to the roasting pan along with as many peppers as you like, and mix everything thoroughly to coat. I prefer to keep the peperoncini whole (they provide burst of acidity when you bite into them), and chop the cherry/peppadew peppers.
Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes. Serve with bread to sop up the sauce, and a crisp white wine. Leftovers keep and reheat well!
• The base recipe is a great way to try new flavors. Keep the potatoes, chicken, sweet peppers, garlic, and onion from the recipe above but try subbing in:
• Leftovers are great for breakfast if you debone the chicken, chop everything coarsely, then heat in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and scramble a few eggs in.
• This recipe is a good base for a soup. Omit the flour and instead of putting everything into a casserole place them in a large soup pot. Don’t pre-cook the potatoes. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with your favorite spice. Follow every other step until you strain the stock into your frying pan. Don’t reduce it, and add it the pot along with 1 cup of white rice and water sufficient to cover the ingredients. Bring to just below a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until everything is tender. If you prefer a thicker soup, try thickening with beaten egg yolk and lemon.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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