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The Silver Palate's Sicilian Style Chicken

The robust flavours of southern Italy are combined in this gutsy little chicken number - it’s Carey’s (Mr Milly's) signature winter dish! Care of now out of print cookbook The Silver Palate. Freshly chopped garlic and parsley intensify the kick at the last moment. Serve with lots of crusty bread and a sharply dressed tossed salad. Red wine is a must!


125ml Chicken stock
125ml Dry White wine
30g Dried Porcini or forest mushrooms
3 Tbsp Olive oil
2kg Chicken portions (I like drums and thighs)
6 fat Cloves of garlic
2 Large onions, finely diced
1/4 Cup Brandy
4 cans of Italian tomatoes, drained, chopped
1/2 Cup Black olives, stoned
1/4 Cup Sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
50g Anchovy fillets, drained and chopped roughly
4 Tbsp capers, drained
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp Dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1/4 Cup Chopped fresh basil
1/2 Cup Chopped fresh Italian parsley


Combine the stock, wine and dried mushrooms in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes but don’t let it completely dry out. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven (or large non-stick pan). Dry the chicken pieces on paper towels and add to the pan, in small batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, and saute over medium heat until nicely browned. Take your time with this step and get a good caramel brown on all sides to add a wonderful depth of flavour. Transfer the chicken to a platter and reserve.
Crush half of the garlic and add it to the pan with the chopped onions (add a little more oil and a pinch of salt if necessary to stop onions from sticking). Lower the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and fragrant (about 10 mins). Then return the chicken to the pan. Add the brandy and carefully flame, shaking the pan from side to side until the flames subside.
Add the tomatoes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, capers, vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, pepper, salt (be careful as you have lots of salty ingredients already) and the reserved mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Stir gently but well then cover and gently simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes or until cooked through (stirring occasionally). You can put it in the oven at 180C for a similar amount of time if you would prefer.
While the chicken is cooking, mince the remaining garlic cloves and combine with all but 1 tbsp each of the parsley and the basil. Toss well and set aside.
Remove the dutch oven from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. Add the basil/parsley/garlic mixture to the sauce and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes until sauce is thickened and gorgeous and smelling utterly delicious.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp each of basil and parsley then serve.