Chicken with Vinegar Peppers
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes
Great with Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes, small pasta like orzo or pastina, with this a pantry-based dish that is perfect for the winter months. It’s also easy to marinate the chicken the night before you want to cook it up, and in under 45 minutes you have a great meal. Want to add a few more vegetables? Artichoke hearts, frozen green beans, and spinach are great last-minute additions after the chicken is cooked—simply add to the pot and cook until warmed through. And yes, this is based on pork with vinegar peppers, the Italian-American classic that’s a specialty of restaurants on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Allow 8 to 24 hours for marinating.
4 large split chicken breasts, on the bone, skin on (about 6 pounds )
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, white strongly preferred
3 teaspoons salt, divided
6 sprigs fresh oregano
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
8 small or 10 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 cup jarred Italian red cherry peppers, cut in half and stems removed, plus 1 tablespoon brine
1 cup pepperoncini, stemmed and halved, plus 1 tablespoon brine
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, optional
- Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 sprigs of the oregano, and 1 sprig of the rosemary in the bottom of a very large sealable plastic bag and close. Roll the bag in your hand and gently massage the branches in your fingertips from the outside of the bag. Open the bag and add the chicken breasts. (If your bags are a bit small, split the marinade and chicken between 2 bags.) Place the bags in a bowl (to contain any possible leaking) and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade (see Kitchen Tip). Pat the chicken dry and set aside.
- Combine the flour, pepper, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt in a shallow bowl that is large enough to hold a chicken breast. Stir well to fully combine. Position the bowl near the stove. Place a cooling rack into a rimmed baking sheet and position it near the stove as well.
- Heat a wide, deep ovenproof saucepan over high heat, pour in the extra-virgin olive oil, and heat until it shimmers.
- Dip 1 chicken breast into the flour mixture, turn to coat thoroughly, and gently pat off any excess. Carefully place it into the pan, skin side down, and repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the skin is medium brown and crisp, and turn with tongs. Cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the breasts to the prepared cooling rack, keeping the pan on the heat.
- Add the white wine to the pan, scraping up all the browned bits into the liquid, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the wine reduces in volume by about half. Add the chicken broth and continue scraping and mixing for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is completely heated through and it reduces in volume by about one-third. Add the garlic, pickled peppers, their brining liquids, and the red pepper flakes, and stir well. Carefully place the chicken breasts back into the pan and stir gently to coat. (Discard any chicken drippings. See Kitchen Tips.) Cover the pan and place in the oven.
- Bake the chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 162° to 163°F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. (It will come up to at least 165°F during the resting time.) Don’t place it on the previously used cooling rack or any previously used platter.
Discard marinades that have been used for meat, poultry, or fish when you are ready to cook, as they can harbor dangerous foodborne bacteria. Some recipes suggest that you can kill any bacteria by boiling it for 15 minutes, but this is not true—and not safe. The same is true for drippings that are released from partially cooked meat, poultry, or fish. By exposing cooked food to these uncooked or partially cooked marinades and juices, you can recontaminate the cooked foods. Likewise, don’t place cooked chicken on any previously used platters, where bacteria might lurk.