Chicken Vesuvio is a dish that’s been around the Chicago area for a long time, but we’d never heard of it, not until our friend Duke told us about it. He described his favorite chicken dish as deliciously moist and garlicky with browned potatoes to help soak up the rich juice and fresh young peas tossed in to give the dish sweetness and color. What brought a grin to Duke’s face wasn’t the dish itself but the funny story that went along with it.
We Hear of Chicken Vesuvio
Duke told us a story of how he and his wife, Jenny, had flown home to visit with his mamma and his Italian relatives. Just as he and Jenny were ready to say their arrivederci, mamma handed Duke a sack. What was in the sack?
Chicken Vesuvio. 🙂
Now, you’re familiar with Italian mammas or nonnas you know that they won’t let you leave their house without handing you some food to take along “just in case you get hungry”.
You could have eaten a ten-course meal but they’re still going to make sure you have something “to tide” you over. The trip could be five minutes or five hours, it doesn’t matter.
It’s an unwritten law. Italian mammas and nonnas lose their badge of honor if they let someone leave their house without extra food to sustain them.
So it was with Duke’s mamma. It didn’t matter that the flight would provide a meal. Airplane food? Bah!! It wasn’t fit to eat. . . not for her son and wife. Duke didn’t have to open the sack all the way to know what was inside.
The aroma of chicken and garlic filled the air. Duke wasn’t shy, he gladly took his sack, thanked his mamma for her thoughtfulness, then gave her a warm hug and big kiss good-bye.
Recounting the story brought a huge smile to Duke’s face. “So Duke”, I said, “Did you and Jenny eat the chicken on the airplane?”
“Of course,” he said laughing. “We made all those passengers jealous once they smelled that delicious garlic chicken aroma! Here they were eating tasteless food while Jenny and I were feasting on Chicken Vesuvio.”
The Best Parts of Many Chicken Vesuvio Recipes
Ever since Duke told us about Chicken Vesuvio, I’ve come across the recipe several times. When I tried to duplicate the flavor, I tried to recall what Duke said his mamma put in her recipe. I settled on following several recipes then adding a touch of our own.
Our Recipe – The Perfect combination
We decided to add mushrooms to the recipe because we really like mushrooms, but if you don’t like them, omit them. Most recipes brown the potatoes in the skillet but in the Cuisine version, they suggested baking them so they’d be nice and crispy. We loved that idea so once the potato wedges were baked we added them to the finished chicken. The potatoes were delicious, not mushy or soggy but crisp.
Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
- 1 ( 3-3 1/2 lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 12 peeled whole cloves garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms (3 oz.)
- Dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 cups white wine (we used Pinot Grigio)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley (Save 2 Tablespoons for sprinkling on top of chicken and potatoes)
- 4 russet or Yukon gold potatoes cut in wedges
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano. Don't be shy with the seasonings.
- Coat the bottom of a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot place the chicken skin side down to sear. Be patient and allow the chicken to brown on one side before turning and browning on the other side. It will take about 4 minutes on each side.
- Remove the chicken.
- Add garlic cloves to the skillet and cook until golden brown. Remove and put with the chicken.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they release their liquid and start to brown.
- Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, making sure all the delicious bits and pieces are scraped up. Add the chicken broth and cook down for several minutes.
- Add the chicken, garlic and parsley back into the pan. Place the uncovered pan into the preheated oven. Cook the chicken for about 25 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the pan, add the butter and stir to form a smooth sauce. Add the peas to the pan. Keep warm.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut potatoes into wedges and toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a foiled lined baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil and roast 15 minutes. Flip potatoes and roast 10 minutes more.
- Toss potatoes with Parmesan and parsley
- Serve the chicken, mushroom, peas with the potatoes and pour the delicious sauce over them. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley over chicken.
- I used a convection oven so my time may be different than yours. Be sure to take the internal temperature of the chicken for accuracy.
- I have a double oven so I was able to make the potatoes and chicken at the same time. You can also make the potatoes first, then decrease the oven temperature for the chicken. After taking the chicken out of the oven to finish, pop the potatoes back in the oven to heat up.
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