To make a traditional pollo in potacchio, the chicken must be cooked with very little sauce – the wine, tomatoes and chicken juices make the charred skin very tasty, while the inside remains surprisingly tender.
- 4 chicken marylands (or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4–5 cloves garlic
- 2–3 rosemary sprigs
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) dry white wine
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tomato passata or 125 g (4½ oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Wash the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Trim off any excess fat.
- Pour the olive oil into a frying pan large enough to fit all the chicken and place over medium–high heat. Lightly crush the garlic with the side of your knife and add to the pan. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add the chicken and rosemary. Cook on one side for 4–5 minutes until the skin has browned, then turn over and cook for another 4–5 minutes to brown the other side. Add the wine and allow that to sizzle and reduce for a few minutes, then add the passata or tomato and season with salt and pepper. The chicken will start releasing its juices and there should be a bit of liquid in the pan.
- Continue to cook the chicken pieces, turning them over every few minutes so they cook evenly. If the pan becomes too dry and the chicken is sticking to the base, add a tablespoon or two of water. Cook until the juices run clear when the chicken pieces are prodded with a fork or the internal temperature of the largest piece of chicken is 75°C (165°F) according to a meat thermometer. The actual cooking time depends on the size of the chicken pieces, but it should be about 30–40 minutes.
- Arrange the charred chicken pieces on a serving platter and spoon over the juices. This is delicious with your favourite mashed or roast potatoes.
Recipe from Adriatico: Italy's Adriatic Coast (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.