Saturday, June 2, 2012

Return to Me Chicken Vesuvio

  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 chicken thighs with skin, bone in (I opted to take the skin off)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pkg. fresh sweet pea pods
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat about 3 tbsps. olive oil on medium-high heat .

    Sprinkle plenty of salt on the chicken

    Brown the chicken in the hot oil, in two batches.

    Brown both sides and when done, place in a 13" x 9" casserole dish

    While the chicken is browning, it's a good time to quarter the potatoes if you haven't done so yet.  Preheat oven to 450F degrees.

    When the chicken is done, add a tbsp. of olive oil in the same pan (after you place the chicken in the casserole dish).  Turn the heat to medium, add the potatoes and brown, stir occasionally but ever so gently so not to tear the potatoes

    When the potatoes are almost tender and brown, add the chopped garlic.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir gently for about 2 minutes.  Add the wine, scrape up the bits and stir.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

    Pour the potatoes and wine on top of the chicken in the casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  DO NOT wash the pan yet.  Leave it on the stove for next step!

    5 minutes before you take the chicken and potatoes out of the oven, melt the butter in the same pan where the chicken and potatoes were browned.  Add the sweet pea pods and gently stir into the butter on low heat.

    By this time, it's time to take the chicken and potatoes out of the oven.  Take about 1/4 cup of the meat juices from the casserole dish and . . . . 

    . . . . drizzle over the sweet pea pods, stir gently to combine.

    Now take the whole pan of the sweet pea pods and pour over the chicken and potatoes. Let set for 10 minutes, uncovered.

    Serve warm and enjoy!

    I blogged this recipe about two years ago, back when I first started blogging.  My picture taking was so poor and my directions were so wordy.  I try to not say too much because 1 - my grammar ain't the best and 2, I don't want to lose the reader with a bunch of blah, blah, blah - which I'm known to do every now and then.

    Anyway, if you've watched the movie, "Return to Me" (It's my #1 favorite Romantic Comedy), they mention "Chicken Vesuvio" a couple of times and so one day I decided to look it up to find out what it was.  According to Wikipedia:
    Chicken Vesuvio, a specialty of Chicago, is an Italian-American dish made from chicken on the bone and wedges of potato, sauteed with garlicoregano, whitewine and olive oil, then baked until the chicken's skin becomes crisp. The dish is often garnished with a few green peas for color.
    In Chicago, one also often finds the technique applied to other foods, like "steak Vesuvio," "pork chops Vesuvio" or even just "Vesuvio potatoes."
    The origins of the dish are unknown, but some suggest it might have been popularized by the Vesuvio Restaurant, which operated at 15 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago, in the 1930s.
    That made sense to me since the movie is based in Chicago.  If you haven't seen "Return to Me" one of the famous lines in the movie sums it all up in a few words, "Grace has Bob's dead wife's heart".  Minnie Driver is precious and plays Grace.  David Duchovny plays Bob, the widower.  The uncles themselves make you wish they were your uncles  - played by Robert Loggia, William Bronder and Eddie Jones and Carol O'Connor plays Grace's beloved, overbearing grandfather.  Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi play the typical Italian Catholic couple, perfect match. Grace's grandfather owns an Italian-Irish pub in the movie and that's where they make, Chicken Vesuvio.  It sounded so good I wanted to learn how to make it.  In about the same time several years ago, Giada deLaurentis cooked it in her Saturday morning program so YAY! I took it as a sign, it was meant to be, I had to make it and WOW it did NOT disappoint!!!  It's hard to describe in words just how savory and delicious this dish is, very satisfying too for my meat and potatoes man.  The potatoes are tender, smothered in buttery, garlic, chicken flavors.  The sweet pea pods add the perfect balance so this dish is indeed the perfect Italian-American meal if I may say so myself.  This has got to be one of my most favorite dishes to cook.  It's getting easier and easier every time not to mention how I love how the aromas fill the house and my neighborhood, makes one think I have my own Italian-Irish restaurant in my own home.  If you haven't seen the movie, it's worth hunting it down and buying it and watching it several times a year.  The cast of characters uniquely work very well  together.  If you like Jackie Gleason and his Orchestra music, his music is played constantly throughout the movie as well as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  If you buy the DVD, it's worth listening to Bonnie Hunt and the other writer of the movie describe each scene and how they came up with this and that as well as the  music.    Here's the trailer:

    I wish they had a better trailer for it so trust me, go watch it!!  
    Have a blessed weekend and remember to savor every moment!


    1. We love that movie and watch several times a year. So cute. I also love "You've Got Mail" and "New In Town."

    2. I agree. It is a great movie. I've never tried Chicken Vesuvio. It looks delicious and is now on my "must try" list. Thanks for sharing!

    3. Hmmm..
      Now, I have a movie to watch, and a great meal to make to go with it.. thanks!

      Smiles :)


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