Roman style Chicken - pollo alla Romana

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Pollo all Romana is a delicious chicken stew with tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs and olive oil, cooked in white wine.

In Rome, pollo alla Romana is often eaten on August 15, a holiday (Ferragosto) Emperor Augustus added in 18BC so people could have an extra day to rest after weeks of harvesting grapes and grains.

Even though Roman style chicken is a special occasion dish in Rome, to me it is the perfect weeknight dish, as it is easy and fairly quick to make, but full of flavor and healthy ingredients. It is however one of the dishes that keeps developing flavor and does taste even better after resting, so make sure you make enough to have leftovers, or you can make it a day ahead. The fact that it tastes better the next day also make it the perfect dish to prepare if you are expecting guests the next day. Then all you have to do the day off is to prepare the sides.

There are many options for what to serve with this dish. If you have it for lunch, perhaps bread or garlic bread to scoop up the delicious sauce would be a great choice. If you serve it for dinner you can serve it with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, pasta, quinoa, rice or couscous. A salad on the side is also nice, but not necessary. My family prefer it with garlic bread.

There are many recipes out there for this dish, and I have tried cooking many of them. Although I found most of them ok, I am not a huge fan of Rosemary, which most of them used. In this recipe I have used oregano, thyme and parsley, three of my favorite herbs.

Here is how you make it:

1. Rinse, remove skin and fat from chicken. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Cut the bell peppers into bite size pieces. Chop the prosciutto and mince the garlic. Take the fresh thyme and oregano leaves off their stems and get out your dried spices, chicken stock, oil, wine and diced tomatoes.

3. In a heavy large skillet (I use a wok), heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot cook the chicken for a few of minutes on each side (until it has changed color to light brown). Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

4. Keeping the stove at medium heat, add the bell peppers and prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

5. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.

6. Add the chicken and stock and Cayenne pepper to the pan and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes, max 5, then reduce the heat to medium/low (2.2 out of 10), cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Slice the scallions.

8. Add the chopped scallions, cover and cook for about 10 more minutes or until chicken is tender. (I like to use very low temperature 1.8 - 2.2 out of 10 so I let it cook for 20 more minutes to let the flavors have more time to develop. I also leave the lid off for the last 10 minutes - if you have he time you can do it the way I do it), but it is not necessary.

9. If you are serving the dish immediately, chop the parsley.

10. Add the capers and chopped parsley just before serving. If you are making the dish ahead of time you can wait to add the capers and parsley until you are ready to serve. If making ahead, put it in a storage container and store in the refrigerator. Re-heat in a pan over medium heat).

Can be served with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, bread, garlic bread, couscous or cooked quinoa.

Here is what you need:

2 skinless chicken thighs per person (or 1 breast)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 or 3 bell peppers, vary the colors, cut into bite size pieces

3 oz. prosciutto, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (15-16 oz.) diced tomatoes

½ cup dry white wine

1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves

½ cup chicken stock

4 scallions, sliced

½ tsp. pepper, plus more for chicken

½ tsp. salt, plus more for chicken

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or less if you do not like it a little spicy)

2 tbsp. capers

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. In a heavy large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot cook the chicken for a couple of minutes on each side (until it has changed color). Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Still over medium heat, add the bell peppers and prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and scratch the bottom of the pan to scratch loose anything stuck. Add the chicken and stock to the pan and bring to a boil. When it starts to boil reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped scallions, cover and cook for about 10 more minutes until chicken is tender. Add the capers and chopped parsley just before serving.

Can be served as lunch or dinner. Serve with either bread, garlic bread, rice, boiled potatoes, pasta, mashed potatoes, couscous or cooked quinoa.

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