Spicy Sicilian Chicken

I must have been feeling a little lazy yesterday because I wanted a dinner that would mostly cook itself. This stew from Molto Italiano did that, and as a bonus, it required some wine but not an entire bottle. Since the vegetables refused to chop themselves, I had to do that part, but my next task was to sit back and sip the remaining wine while the stew simmered. Lazy is good sometimes, and so are one pot meals.

Mario insists that this dish is to be spicy. I used chiles de arbol for the five dried chiles listed in the ingredients, and I broke them into pieces while adding them to the mix of vegetables. They did their job in delivering a good level of heat to the dish, and the instructions direct you to add some red pepper flakes at the end of cooking for added zip. So, yes, this was a lazy, simmered, one pot meal with zip. Could it get any better? It could. The vegetables included chunked eggplant, carrot, celery, potatoes, and tomatoes and thick strips of bell peppers. Sicilian olives and rinsed and drained salt-packed capers were added as well. I was surprised that there were no onions or garlic included, but there was plenty of flavor just as it was. A chicken cut into eight pieces was browned in a large skillet. The pieces were removed to a plate and the vegetables, olives, capers, and dried chiles went into the pan. A cup and a half of dry red wine was added. I used an inexpensive Montepulciano d?Abruzzo. The browned chicken was added back to the pan. It was brought to a boil, reduced to a simmer, covered and allowed to cook itself, and I sat.

The chicken I used was kind of big, so I gave it extra time to simmer. The tomatoes softened and became one with the sauce. The other vegetables attained a lovely tenderness. The potatoes were cut into big enough chunks that they held their shape, and they turned a pretty pinkish color from the wine. I put just a little more effort into this meal than I really had to because I decided the sauce could be thicker. I transferred everything to a large serving bowl and turned up the heat to reduce the sauce and then poured that delicious, rich wine and chicken gravy over the stew. It was garnished with chopped parsley and mint and red pepper flakes and served with bread for dipping. It was a hearty, easy meal that makes arguably even better leftovers. I may let dinner do the cooking more often.

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