Dinner in a dish: Sal's Sicilian Chicken

Recipes taste better when they have a story behind it. This one came to me via a friend from Allentown, PA. His father, originally from Foggia, Italy, drove the family every Sunday to Roseto, PA for a taste of the old home. Sal Poidomani, of Sal's Spaghetti House, gave them exactly that. Sal was best known for his authentic red sauce, though he plays that recipe close to the vest. He was gracious enough to share this recipe for his Sicilian chicken, which is your basic baked chicken with a Sicilian twist, a la olives.


For more on Sal:

The recipe:

For dredging chicken:
-- 1/2 cup flour
-- 1/2 tsp. salt
-- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To make the dish:
-- 1 cup olive oil, divided
-- 4 Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into wedges
-- 3 to 4 medium-sized onions, cut into wedges
-- Assorted bone-in chicken parts (3 each, legs, thighs, breasts)
-- 1/2 pint mixed olives in olive oil
-- 6 or 7 sprigs chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise in half and then cut the halves in half. If using very large potatoes, cut the wedges in half again.
Peel onions and cut them in quarters or eights, also lengthwise
Coat bottom of 13-by-9-inch casserole with olive oil.
Dredge chicken parts in mixture of flour, salt and pepper and then brown on all sides in frying pan coasted with olive oil. Do not overcook. You just want the skin to brown.
Arrange browned chicken parts in the baking pan, leaving some room between the parts. Place potatoes and onions between the chicken parts and then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle olives and chopped parsley over the top.
Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to your taste.
Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and bake the chicken for 1 to 11/2 hours. Check to see if your potatoes are done after 1 hour. If they are, remove foil and bake the dish uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving with a salad and your favorite white wine.


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