Paola Bacchia's Chicken With Roasted Peppers (Pollo Co’i Peveroni)

This comforting chicken dish's secrets are tomatoes, marjoram and roasted capsicum

Serve this comforting main with polenta or potatoes. Photo / Supplied

When I was growing up at home, chicken was a dish we ate on a Sunday, a festive dish, roasted whole, or stuffed or made into a ragu to serve with gnocchi.

This dish is based on Iolanda de Vonderweid’s pollo all’istriana (Istrian chicken), which she describes as “exquisite”. A whole chicken is cut into eight (by your butcher, if you do not want to) and simmered with tomatoes, marjoram and roasted capsicum.

I love serving this dish with polenta or potatoes; both do an excellent job of mopping up the colourful sauce.

Serves 6

1.5kg whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, sliced
½ cup dry white wine
440g tinned peeled tomatoes, diced
1 tsp dried marjoram
3 red or yellow capsicums, roasted and skins removed

1. Lightly rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Trim off the excess fat, but keep the skin on. Dust the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside. Make sure the chicken is at room temperature before cooking.

2. Place the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan that will fit the chicken in a single layer. Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat for about 12 minutes, or until translucent but not yet coloured. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

3. Add the chicken and brown for 8-10 minutes, regularly turning the pieces with tongs so they cook evenly and do not stick to the base of the pan.

4. Increase the heat and add the wine. Allow it to evaporate for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes (including the juice). Stir through and reduce the heat to medium. Once it starts to simmer, add the marjoram. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

5. Cut the roasted capsicum into strips, nearly as wide as a finger. Add to the chicken and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Extracted with permission from Istria by Paola Bacchia, $65, Smith Street Books

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