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
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden brown. Transfer to plate.
2. Add remaining oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Cook potatoes, cut-side down, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, rosemary, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and broth, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and bring to boil. Return browned chicken to skillet on top of potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving platter; tent with foil.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and cook till heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off-heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper as desired.
4. Pour sauce over chicken and potatoes and serve.
Note: If you like a spicier Vesuvio, stir in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the garlic.
Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope when writing care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.