CHICKEN SCARPARIELLO (Italian American “shoemaker’s chicken”, with hot peppers and sausage, for four)


Scarpa is Italian for shoe but, despite many theories, it is unclear how this dish got its name.  It is an Italian-American creation.

one 3 pound chicken, cut into eight serving pieces, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound sausage, sliced on the diagonal (can be Italian sweet, hot or fennel, or even kielbasa)

1 large onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, cut into ¾ inch pieces

2 to 4 jarred hot cherry peppers in vinegar, drained and sliced (if you can’t find these, substitute ¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, which can be added along with the garlic)

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet with a lid over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the sausage lightly, transfer it to a platter and keep it warm, covered with foil.   Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and, when it is hot, season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and sauté it, in 2 batches if necessary, beginning with the skin sides down, turning occasionally and adjusting the heat to keep from burning, until cooked through and well-browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch.  (Add another tablespoon oil to skillet if you are cooking a second batch.)
  1. When all the chicken is browned, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer very slowly for 20 to 25 minutes (if you add more chicken pieces, or if your chicken pieces are large, increase the braising time).  Transfer chicken to the sausage platter and keep warm, covered with foil.
  1. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet, add the remaining tablespoon oil and cook onion, bell peppers and cherry peppers (to taste) over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.  Add wine and broth and boil, uncovered, 2 minutes.
  1. Add chicken and sausage (with any juices that have accumulated on the plate) and parsley and cook briskly until most of the liquid is evaporated and the chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes, then season with salt.


adapted from Gourmet Magazine, February, 2002

Leave a Reply