The next question after “How many ways can I make a meatball?” (and I swear I will stop talking about meatballs for at least the next dozen posts) is “How many ways can I roast a chicken?” The answer, at least if you’re me: innumerable.
Scarpariello is a spicy Italian-style chicken with sausage and peppers. You can use sweet or spicy sausage based on your preference. Since the dish utilizes hot cherry peppers and I have one kid who can be a little spice-averse, I use sweet most of the time. The sauce accompanying the chicken has a great balance of tang and spice, and, though the chicken is cooked in the sauce, it’s browned and finishes cooking in the oven, so you retain that nice crispy skin.
The nice thing about this version of roasted chicken is that the chicken is cut up so, combined with the browning step, it doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as a whole bird. If you use breasts, you can also just cut them in half for an even quicker cooking time. The original recipe calls for bone-in chicken breast halves but as you know, we love dark meat. I ended up using a mix (since I happened to have a large breast in the freezer anyway), which is a good way to please everyone (but be sure if you do that you cook the larger pieces a little longer). I’ve made a lighter version of this dish from the ATK Healthy Family Cookbook and the main difference is the use of boneless/skinless breasts and cooking them entirely on the stovetop. So, you could certainly do something like that if you wanted to lighten this. I use chicken or turkey sausage either way (but buyer beware, many turkey/chicken sausages have as many fat and calories as pork sausage), and the other ingredients in the dish are all pretty healthy. I think the b/s breast version is certainly delicious but is it as delicious as crispy chicken skin? Probably not. 🙂
- 10 minutes
- 50 minutes
- 4-6 servings
- 3 tsp. olive or vegetable oil, divided
- 8 oz. Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or other pieces)
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored/seeded and sliced into strips
- 4-5 pickled hot cherry peppers, stemmed/seeded and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, plus extra for finishing
- 3/4 cup chicken broth, plus 1 Tbsp.
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350º. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, breaking up sausage, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove skillet from heat; pour off fat into small bowl and reserve.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil until smoking. Pat chicken dry and liberally season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and brown on other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate. Remove skillet from heat and pour off fat into bowl with sausage fat.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat 1 tablespoon reserved fat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and cherry peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/3 cup vinegar, and 3/4 cup broth; bring mixture to boil, scraping up browned bits from pan bottom.
- Add sausage and chicken (with any accumulated juices) back into skillet, arranging chicken pieces in single layer, skin side up, on top of peppers and onion. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, removing smaller pieces earlier if necessary.
- Carefully remove skillet from oven (handle will be very hot) and transfer chicken, skin side up, to platter or individual serving plates. Combine cornstarch, thyme, and remaining tablespoon broth in small bowl. Place skillet over medium-high heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Simmer sauce mixture until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, taste sauce and add up to 2 tablespoons additional vinegar. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce around chicken sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.