We are finally back here in Le Marche Italy visiting my family and walking the same streets as my grandfather who immigrated to the United States in 1911. It’s been a two-year hiatus since our last memorable trip here.
All the things I love about this place have come flooding back – family, afternoons at cafes, the beautiful countryside, the Adriatic Sea. However, the things that really activate my memories are the tastes and aromas of the Italian region of Marche.
One simple thing that I could not find at home in LA after my last trip here were chickens that looked like chickens. Chickens in Italy are what chickens in the US looked like 30 years ago. They are small, golden, super fresh and still have the skin and bones attached. All this equals flavor.
This reminds me of an important lesson I learned last time I visited – stop-buying chickens all nicely cut up and plastic wrapped. Instead, buy a whole chicken, wrapped in butcher paper and cut it up for your dinner. The practice of prepackaged cut-up chicken didn’t exist until the 1960s. Just look up a YouTube video on how to cut up a chicken. You will be so much happier!!Print
- 5 or so Yukon gold potatoes
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- ½ small organic chicken cut into 5 pieces (wing, drumstick, thigh and breast cut in half with ribs still attached)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup chopped imported Italian tomatoes
- Hot water
- Good-quality olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Line a dish with paper towels and lay out the chicken skin side up. Let air dry uncovered in your refrigerator for 2 days (or buy air-dried chicken).
- Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Place in a pot, cover with cold water, and add a pinch of salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. The potatoes will not be completely cooked. Drain in colander.
- Add the potatoes to a prep bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Chop the leaves from two rosemary stems. Add the rosemary leaves and a good pinch of salt and toss the potatoes well.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet add a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides, about ten minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl. Keep the rendered chicken fat and oil in the pan.
- Heat the rendered chicken fat and oil over medium heat. Add the drained boiled potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes turning over a few times with a flat spatula. Add more olive oil if necessary to keep from sticking. Cook the potatoes until tender and slightly browned. Remove to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, still over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic cloves; sauté until soft but not brown. Add the white wine and remaining rosemary sprigs; cook until the wine evaporates.
- Lower the heat to low and add the tomatoes. Season with salt, lower heat to low and cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken and a splash of hot water. Turn the chicken over to coat. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve the chicken and potatoes topped with a little sauce.