Baked Chicken

 

(“Pollo al Forno” - “Gadduzzu ‘Nfurnatu”)

 

 

At Joe’s of Avenue “U” the “specials of the day” were a stimulating episode in our everyday cooking because it challenged me and the team of our faithful employees to suggest, research and sometime invent the recipes for a different pasta, vegetable, meat or fish dish that we introduced daily.  
When a recipe was successful, it would become part of our specials but we would not repeat and cook it until the following fortnight. This was the time when I did consult my handwritten notes with the recipes collected in my many trips to Sicily, or when one of the employees would suggest an old dish that my father, Mr. Joe, used to prepare.
The baked chicken is one of those dishes, where the Sicilian accent is given by the use of capers, olives, pine nuts or almonds, vegetables and by a traditional sauce used, called zogghiu.  
The baked chicken is a delightful dish, light and delicate, can be partially prepared in advance and baked the last minute.
At the Focacceria Palermitana this was one of the preferred chicken preparations.
 

 

Serves 6

 

                        Chicken Parts

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 2½ or 3 lbs. chickens, cut in small pieces.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 3 stalks of celery, peel off any course strings, cut in chunks and rinse
  • 1 white or yellow onion chopped in big chocks
  • 4 medium size potatoes, sliced ½ inch (about 1½ lbs.)
  • 3 tomatoes quartered peeled and seeds removed
  • 2 red onions chopped in big chucks
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 20 rinsed salted capers
  • 10 black pitted olives halved
  • 10 green pitted olives halved
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts or almonds
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ lb. grated caciocavallo or Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb. Italian breadcrumbs
  • parsley for garnish

 

 

 

Ingredient for the Zogghiu  (“A Sicilian Sauce”):

 

  • 2 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon of chopped mint
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

 

 

Preparation

 

 The Zogghiu

To prepare the zogghiu sauce use a blender or a mortar. Blend or crush the parsley, mint and garlic to a paste and slowly blend in the oil, vinegar and salt and pepper until smooth.

 

  • The Chicken

In a large pot, cover the chicken with water and add 1 lemon cut in half, after the juice is squeezed in the pot and 2 tablespoons of salt. 
Marinate for 30 minutes. Rinse chicken with cold water a few times to wash out the salt. 
In a large stockpot, bring to a boil about 6 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt, bay leaf, carrots, celery and white or yellow chopped onion.
Cook for 5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Immerge in the boiling water the chicken pieces and cook for 15 minutes from the moment that the water starts to boil again. Remove chickens with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard water and bay leaf
In a large bowl, stir together the blanched vegetables with the tomatoes, red onions, sliced garlic, capers, olives, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

In a large baking pan stir together the sliced potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread potatoes in the bottom of the baking pan and cover with the mixed vegetables.

 

                    Baked Chicken

 

Place the cheese, breadcrumbs and zogghiu sauce in three wide bowls.
Pat dry the chicken pieces with paper towels. Taking one piece at a time, dip it into the sauce and drip any excess mixture. Roll it in the container with the cheese, then place it in the container with the breadcrumbs compact the breadcrumbs into it and lay it in the pan on top of the vegetables.

 

                          Baked chicken with potatoes

 

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Serve with fresh Italian bread and a good California Cabernet wine.