Unique to Chicago, as Cheese Steak is to “Philly,” Chicken Vesuvio is a dish that stays true to its Italian-American roots and is on most restaurant menus. A popular dish easily made at home, it is simply lightly browned chicken and potato wedges sautéed with garlic, olive oil, herbs, white wine and lemon juice. Very often it is a one-pan dish that starts on the stove, then is transferred into a baking dish and cooked in the oven until the chicken is tender.
One will also see other Vesuvio dishes now made such as Chicago Steak Vesuvio, shrimp Vesuvio, and a pasta Vesuvio.
The origin of Vesuvio recipes in Chicago has become vague over the years, but the best understanding of it is that a restaurant called Vesuvio’s, at 15 E. Wacker Drive in Chicago, created Chicken Vesuvio in the 1930s. I imagine that it began as an economical meal utilizing potatoes, chicken, and peas, and over time has turned into an awesome classic meal that remains a Chicago delight to our present day.
This version of Chicken Vesuvio is done all on the stove in one pan. It is important to use a nice white wine when making it as it does make a difference.
It’s January, it’s cold, and chicken is on sale this week; I say go for it and enjoy its simplicity and taste.
Skillet Chicken Vesuvio
About 4 servings.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or about 2 pounds bone-in chicken parts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and halved; or russet potatoes (Waxy red potatoes hold their shape through browning and braising. Russets are traditionally used in this dish; cut into thick wedges if using.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine