There is never a shortage of chicken recipes and sometimes a few recipes leave chicken dry and unflavorful. When I came across this recipe for Chicken Canzanese in my Cooks Illustrated magazine recently, I knew this chicken recipe would be nothing short of flavorful and moist. This recipe for Chicken Canzanese calls for chicken thighs braised in white wine flavored with prosciutto (bacon), rosemary, garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and whole cloves. That said, doesn’t that already make your mouth water?…
Apparently Chicken Canzanese is a long time recipe that is said to originate from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Being that this dish has been around for awhile, you can only imagine how many versions this recipe has. The recipe I prepared was pretty straightforward. It starts with sauteeing proscuitto (in which case I used bacon instead) and garlic together which will be used to flavor the dish. Next, chicken thighs are browned. A sauce is created by making a roux using the rendered fat from the pan, white wine and chicken broth. Aromatics are then introduced using cloves, fresh rosemary and sage leaves, red pepper flakes. The prosciutto/bacon and garlic is added back to the pan along with the browned chicken. The entire skillet is then baked uncovered for a little over an hour. Although it takes some time to make, it certainly is worth it. The chicken comes out so moist, tender and flavorful! I served this with Parmesan garlic orzo tossed with baby spinach.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, June 2010
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces of diced prosciutto or bacon
2 garlic cloves sliced lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs& drumsticks, trimmed of excess fat and skin)
2 teaspoons flour
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock or broth
4 clove buds
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
15 whole fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pre-heat oven to 325℉, with the rack at middle-lower position. Season the chicken lightly with kosher salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder as desired.
In a large skillet (I used my 12″ cast iron skillet), heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and saute the prosciutto/bacon until fragrant, and add the garlic slices and minced garlic, cooking for just a minute or so until lightly golden. Remove and place in a small bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet without cleaning the pan, add the rest of the olive oil and heat until very hot. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook without disturbing for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Flip pieces over and cook another 5 minutes. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Remove some of the rendered fat from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Make a blond roux by adding the flour to the pan, and stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon or spatula until fragrant, about one minute. Add the wine and broth, slowly, stirring to make a smooth, slightly thin sauce, continuing to scrape the bottom until all the browned bits have been scraped up off the bottom of the pan. If the sauce begins to lump, whisk vigorously until it smoothes out. Add in the whole cloves, red pepper flakes, sage leaves, bay leaves, and reserved prosciutto/bacon and garlic.
Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer, skin-side up so it rests above the liquid. Place the skillet uncovered into the preheated oven and bake until chicken is completely tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Check on the chicken after about 15 minutes after you place it in the oven – the broth should be barely bubbling. If it is boiling or not bubbling at all, raise or lower your temperature slightly, accordingly.
Remove chicken from pan to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil, leaving the sauce in the skillet. Remove the sage leaves, rosemary stem, cloves and bay leaves and discard. Place skillet over high heat on the stovetop, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook the sauce until it has reduced and thickened. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, butter, and minced rosemary. Pour sauce around chicken, and serve.
* To make ahead/freezer meal – Prepare the recipe as directed above until you make the sauce. Transfer the sauce to an oven- and freezer-safe container and cool. Place the browned chicken in the container in a single layer, skin-side up so it rests above the liquid. Allow to cool, then cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost completely. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the chicken until completely tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Check on the chicken after about 15 minutes after you place it in the oven – the broth should be barely bubbling. If it is boiling or not bubbling at all, raise or lower your temperature slightly, accordingly.
Remove chicken from pan to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan on the stovetop, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook the sauce until it has reduced and thickened. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, butter, and minced rosemary. Pour sauce around chicken, and serve.