Originally a peasant dish (perhaps of stewing hen or rooster) from the Abruzzo region in Italy, Americans were likely first introduced to this classic in a 1969 article from the New York Times.
My riff on America’s Test Kitchen’s modern adaptation (see video below) uses locally pastured chicken thighs, prosciutto, garlic, fresh herbs, chicken stock and white wine, all served over fennel-scented brown rice with toasted shallots and flat-leaf parsley..
Pollo Canzanese (serves 2-4)
4 large skin-on, bone-in, pastured chicken breasts
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2-3 cloves garlic, slivered (not minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons sprouted wheat or spelt flour
1-1/4 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves (fresh preferred)
2 sprigs rosemary, stripped, leaves chopped (reserve the stems)
8 leaves fresh sage
3 whole cloves
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cultured butter, cold
freshly-cracked black pepper
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Refrigerate, uncovered 4 hours or overnight to help ensure a crispy skin when cooked.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add prosciutto and sauté until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the prosciutto and garlic to a side dish.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, season the chicken with pepper and place in the hot oil skin-side down. Allow the chicken to cook without moving until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Turn the chicken over cook another 5 minutes, again without moving. Transfer the chicken to a side dish.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of olive oil/fat, reserving the remainder for the rice.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk continuously to form a light roux, about 1 minute.
De-glaze the pan with the wine, taking care to scrape up all the brown bits (the fond) from the bottom.
Add the cooked prosciutto and garlic back into the pan along with the bay leaves, sage, cloves, rosemary stems (without leaves) and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
Add the chicken to the pan, making sure that the volume of liquid is sufficient to rise to a point just below the crisp chicken skin. Pour a little liquid off if there’s too much, or add a little stock if there isn’t enough.
Place the uncovered pan into a 325 degree oven and cook until the chicken is fork tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice..
1 cup germinated brown rice, rinsed
2-1/4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon reserved oil/fat
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, cracked
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
Toast the fennel in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the reserved oil/fat and shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the rice and stir to coat.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until done, about 45 minutes.
To Finish and Serve
Remove the pan with the chicken from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.
Working quickly, put the chicken pan on the burner over medium-high heat. Pick out and discard the cloves, sage, bay and rosemary stems.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, chopped rosemary leaves, parsley and butter and whisk until smooth.
Line a platter with the rice and ladle the sauce over the rice. Place the cooked chicken on top of the rice, drizzle with a little of the sauce and serve piping hot.
Here’s that video..