Pollo alla maceratese

Pollo alla macerateseI’m constantly amazed at how a few ultra-fresh ingredients, simply prepared, can make such a flavorful Italian dish. Today, I picked lemons from our backyard lemon tree, and bought chicken from one of the poultry vendors at the famous Third-and-Fairfax Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles.

For this dish, oft-forgotten chicken giblets are the backbone for a luxurious sauce. And while the original version of this recipe literally places the whole chicken in the pot to cook, I first browned cut-up pieces to develop a little flavor.

This is a somewhat-modified preparation of a famous dish from the region of Marche in Italy. It’s been fun to research Marchigiana cooking as we get ready for our six-week stay after Easter. Cooking and eating traditional Marchigiana food will be a key part of our stay. We know that getting ultra-fresh ingredients there will be easy!

I assume from its name that this dish originated from the town of Macerate, in the south of Marche. As in most of Italy, if you go from one town to the next, the cuisine shifts. You might travel only a few miles before you find that the rules and recipes of the local “nonni” have changed completely!

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Pollo alla maceratese

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  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 super-fresh roasting chicken, cut up into 6 pieces by your butcher. Ask to keep the giblets for this recipe, and keep the back for making chicken stock
  • 1 cup of homemade chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced parsley for garnish


  1. Wash the chicken pieces and dry off with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken. Chop the giblets into very small pieces. You will discard them at the end of the recipe.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold the chicken pieces in two layers, add the butter and olive oil and melt together on medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides in two batches, 5-10 minutes each. Don’t move them around until the pieces have caramelized, so that the skin doesn’t stick to the pan when you lift them. Remove the pieces and set aside to rest. The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point.
  4. Add the chopped-up chicken giblets to the pot and sauté until the bits are deeply browned.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot, putting the dark meat (wings, thighs, drumsticks) on the bottom and the white meat on the second layer, and add the chicken broth.
  6. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and cover with foil.
  8. Strain the reduced chicken broth and giblets through a sieve and return to the pot. It’s OK if some little bits of chicken remain in the pot. Taste the broth and adjust the salt and pepper. Drain off excess oil if you desire.
  9. Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl and season with salt in pepper. Remove the broth from the heat. Whish the egg-lemon mixture into the broth to create a creamy sauce. If the sauce is too watery, return to a low heat and reduce.
  10. Serve the sauce over the finished chicken and sprinkle with a little minced parsley


Special equipement:
• Large heavy bottom pot
• Strainer


Join the Conversation

  1. Tom Casagrande says:

    Hi, I was surfing around looking for Marchegiani recipes and happily stumbled on your website. Our family roots are in Le Marche too. Grandfather from Castel Colonna and grandmother from Fano. Our last remaining relative in Italy lived in Scapezzano for decades (a cousin, Dott. Angelo Casagrande) until he died several years ago. I look forward to trying your many Marchegiani recipes! I have a question: Ever heard of a vegetable recipe whose name phonetically sounds like Pee-tunk-ah? My grandmother used to make it, but I’ve never heard anything else that sounds like that name. Stay well!

    1. Joe Author says:

      Tom… wonderful to hear you found us! My grandfather was born in Scapezzano and I have family that still lives there. We’ve spent 3 long trips in a rented apartment in that little village. We had planned to go back this year but ….

      My family has a good friend with your same last name originally from Scapezzano.. I’d think your related… Her daughter is on FB at to Giulia Casagrande Galli.

      Keep in touch!. Joe

  2. I’m so happy I found this. I just made this from “The Italian Regional Cookbook.
    It calls for you to cook the chicken whole and to fill the pot 3/4th of the way with chicken stock. It also states to cover it tightly with a lid.. but says the broth will cook off most of the way. I was suspicious when it called for a tight lid. It definitely didn’t cook off and it calls to cook for 1 1/2 -2 hours. The sauce seemed off and the chicken dry. I was disappointed. 🙁
    I will definitely try your recipe next time! I’ve spent the past year exploring authentic Italian cuisine, this is the first time I’ve been disappointed.

    1. Joe Author says:

      Thanks for your comment! I believe I got this idea from an Italian-language cookbook that I bought in Italy near my grandfather’s hometown. I did my best to translate it and adapt it to American ingredients and measurement. Please let me know how it turns out! Joe

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