Mary Ann's Blog

Playing Chicken

For years I have been trying to perfect my Sicilian grandmother’s chicken in wine dish. I am not even close but I am not giving up. I can still taste that succulent dish permeated with wine and rosemary.  My latest thought was to use a cast iron pan because I remember that is what she used. I know she cut the chicken into small pieces but there my recollection stops. What else did she use besides the wine that my grandfather made that was only good for cooking anyway? Onions, garlic, lard?

I decided to give it another go and make it again using chicken thighs. Instead of lard I heated some olive oil in a cast iron pan; the chicken was seasoned with flour, salt, pepper and paprika. I browned the chicken first, removed it, and coked the onions and garlic until soft. Back into the pan with the chicken, a couple sprigs of rosemary and about ½ cup of white wine that I let boil off until it almost evaporated. It was smelling good. I added just enough wine to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan and cooked it for about 25 minutes. To bump up the flavor even more, I squirted in the juice of a lemon. The first forkful told me that it was delicious, tender, juicy, winey, respectable, closer to the original but still something was missing but I am not chickening out.

To be continued.


  1. Joe Stifano's avatar

    Joe Stifano

    Your teasing us. What do you mean "to be continued"???? Actually, I've been playing with a similar recipe from my grandmother that she brought over from Italy around 1919. Getting close. Try throwing some wild mushrooms in there. Remember the chicken tastes a whole lot different today then it did yesterday. You need that wildness. Think Coq au van (however its spelled) Waiting for the next chapter.
  2. Terry Mercede's avatar

    Terry Mercede

    My Mother ,like most Italian cooks , was a fabulous cook. My sister and I try constantly try to duplicate her chicken dishes. We both had to agree , that she always used salt pork , or fat back, which she chopped on a wooden board with a heated cleaver with garlic chopped into the salt pork. The smell was wonderful. That was her secret.
  3. Carolyn's avatar


    We make a dish we call Grandma's Italian Chicken. My son has called it black chicken since he started talking. My great grandmother brought it with her from home in Italy. Heat a large, deep skillet with olive oil and onions. Place whole legs in pan, pour Burgundy wine or Balsamic vinegar half way up legs. Add enough water to just cover chicken. Season with Italian seasoning, cover and simmer until liquid is reduced to a syrup. You can turn chicken half way through. When liquid is reduced, remove chicken and cook cubed potatoes in syrup. Deglaze pan with cup of water with potatoes in pan, and cook til fork tender. Serve with a salad, or green beans.

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