Recipe: Pollo ezechiele
Many dishes in Italian Jewish cooking have people's names associated with them. Usually these celebrate grandmothers or mothers who made a specific dish with great flair. But this one has a biblical name: the prophet Ezekiel. I doubt that he was the architect of the dish: its name, like Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish artichokes) probably emphasises its Jewish origin. I first came across this dish in the cookbook La Cucina Nella Tradizione Ebraica, and this is my adaptation of it. If you do not like olives , you can leave them out - the dish will keep a great depth of flavour and a scent of Mediterranean herbs, tomatoes and red wine. I cook it on the stove; however you can also cook it in the oven at 180°C after adding the tomatoes, olives and herbs. Allow 5-10 minutes extra.
Preparation time: 45 minutes.
Serves 4-6 as main course.
● 4-6 serving pieces of chicken
● 2 crushed cloves of garlic
● A handful pitted black olives
● 400g tin plum tomatoes in juice
● Small bunch fresh sage
● Small bunch fresh rosemary
● Small bunch fresh basil
● 1 bay leaf
● 100ml red wine
● 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
● Clean and rinse the chicken thoroughly, pat it dry and cut it, if necessary, into serving pieces.
● Warm the oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the chicken, covered, on medium-high heat for a few minutes until golden on all sides.
● TIP: Use a non-stick frying pan for best results. The chicken won't stick and it will need less oil for cooking.
● Once the chicken has turned golden add the garlic, the olives, the pre-washed herbs - leave a few aside for decoration - the tomatoes with their juice and a little salt and pepper.
● Stir, reduce the flame to low and cover. Leave the chicken to cook until tender - approximately 30 minutes.
● Check if the chicken is cooked by pricking its meat. If the juices are pink it is not cooked yet.
● Cook for another 5-10 minutes and then check again until the juices run clear.
● Once the chicken is cooked, uncover the pan and add the red wine. Raise the heat and leave the wine to evaporate for a couple of minutes. The sauce should now be thick and full of flavour.
● Spoon out any extra fat and transfer to a warmed platter. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs for decoration if desired.
● Serve hot with rice and/or vegetables on the side.
Silvia's website is www.cookingforthesoul.com