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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives


Well folks, in addition to a great recipe today, I also have another chapter for you in "The Misadventures of Accident Prawn". Most of my friends who follow me on Twitter and Facebook have already heard that I have had yet another little "mishap" involving my foot. This time, my heel had a scuffle with some asphalt in a parking lot and my heel lost.

Picture it. Mr. SGCC and I were at a fancy schmancy country club last Friday night, celebrating the retirement of one of our favorite judges. Everyone who was anyone in our local Bar Association was there. I was all gussied up in one of my cutest outfits. I even wore eyeliner! Anyway, we had a lovely time and I managed not to kill or maim myself all during the party. Afterward, on the way out to the car, my heel somehow got stuck in the blacktop and.....



I went down on my ankle like a ton of bricks. That was all she wrote! Putting aside the incredible pain shooting up and down my leg, I could not walk, stand or put any weight at all on that ankle.

I spent the entire weekend flat on my back, with my ankle packed in ice until Monday, when I was sent to have an MRI. The result is that I have a partial tear in the anterior talofibular ligament of my lateral collateral ligament of my ankle joint. Whew! That's quite a mouthful! What is basically means is that I will have to spend a few weeks off my feet. It also means no standing at the stove or oven for a while. No TWD. No Daring Bakers. No nothing!

Of course, I'm pretty ticked off about this, but there isn't much I can do about it. I'm just hoping that it heals up quickly with no complications. Surgery is the last thing I need! So, for the time being, I'm sadly trading in Michael, Manolo and Jimmy for one of these:


Fortunately, I already have the makings of several posts to last me a week or two. I've also got over 200 articles in the SGCC archives, so I'm sure I can come up with a few that most of you haven't seen before. But, in case you don't hear from me as often as usual, I know you'll understand why.

The following is a reprint of an article I wrote for Paper Palate on the Well Fed Network. It is a lovely chicken dish that we enjoyed very much. I hope you enjoy it too.

My heart did a little happy dance when I first laid eyes on the January, 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine. It was the Italian-American issue, with a big, beautiful bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on the cover. Being an Italian-American myself, I was naturally and understandably drawn to it. Many of the fondest memories of my childhood revolve around the sights, sounds and smells emanating from my Nonna's tiny kitchen. Nonna has long since passed from this world, but I can still see her standing at her stove, stirring her pots of Sunday gravy and lovingly tending her herb-laden roasted chickens.

The issue is chock full of poignant reflections and mouthwatering recipes. It is a virtual treasure trove for anyone interested in Italian food and cooking. My copy is already dog-eared and splattered with olive oil (extra-virgin, of course)!


When I first saw Tony Oltranti's recipe for Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives, I knew that it would be one of the first to try. While he often prepares this dish using rabbit, it is also beautifully suited to chicken. The chicken is bathed in white wine and roasted in a very hot oven with pancetta, olives and lots of garlic. The result is a bird boasting unbelievably tender and juicy meat beneath a super crispy skin.

This dish is easy to prepare and doesn't take all day. I prepared it for a weeknight dinner and took my first delicious bite after little more than an hour. I used chicken thighs instead of whole, cut up chickens, because we're a dark meat kind of family. The chicken turns out so moist, I don't think it matters what cuts you use.


Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives
adapted from Tony Oltranti via Gourmet Magazine, January, 2009


2 chickens (about 3 1/2 pounds each), backbones cut out and each chicken cut into 12 pieces (see cooks’ note, below)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dry white wine
24 oil-cured black olives


Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Toss chicken with oil, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, red-pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon pepper, rubbing mixture into chicken.

Arrange chicken, skin side up, in 1 layer in a 17-by 11-inch 4-sided sheet pan. Scatter garlic and pancetta on top and roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

Drizzle wine over chicken and roast 8 minutes more.

Scatter olives over chicken and roast until skin is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes.

Cooks' note: To cut a chicken into 12 pieces, remove wings and cut each breast half into 3 pieces, then separate drumsticks and thighs. Backbones can be used to make chicken stock.


Donna said...

Ok, I am REALLY going to try this recipe this weekend. I have fresh rosemary and thyme that I have been waiting to actually use. I think I will use the chicken thighs also. Keep your fingers crossed! And I was sorry to hear about your ankle!

Cakelaw said...

This looks delicious - can I come over for dinner???

Half Baked said...

First of all I hope your up and about soon!! Secondly this dish looks delish! Get well:)

Anonymous said...

Ack - sorry to hear about your ankle!! oh my!
Your chicken dish looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your ankle - that is a drag! I was just doing my DB challenge & thought of you & then I saw your tweet!

I love this issue of Gourmet, mine is in the same condition of yours! I have yet to try this particular recipe - my friend Evelyn made it and said it was great, but her family did not care for it! I don't care .. seems like it will be a winner with us, too!

Anonymous said...

Oh no!!!! I'm so sorry!!! Rest up and get better! I love this chicken though...delicious!!!! :)

Meg said...

I am so sorry to hear about your ankle! I hope it heals quickly!

This chicken looks quite tasty!

Tangled Noodle said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery! This dish looks superb.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Thanks for the good wishes, guys! I;m glad you like this chicken dish. I must tell you, this cooking method gave me the crispest skin I ever had. It must be because of the high oven temp. I usually start out at 400 and then lower to 350 after about 20 minutes. I am making my roast chicken like this from now on. Oh, and I'm never serving chicken without pancetta again!

Cakelaw- Bring the wine and you're in!

Chez Us- I am so bummed about missing the DB challenge! I had all of the ingredients ready and was so psyched.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Yikes! Sorry about your mishap! If helps you any one of my Twins is an accident waiting to happen. Don't freak out but just his past weekend he accidentally shot himself in the face with an airsoft gun! Fortunately he's okay, just has an ugly looking burn, cut mark on his jaw. He said several of his buddies shot the gun and there weren't any bullets. He picks it up and accidently shoots himself! Can you believe? Oh, and he's only had his cast off a few weeks!

Manggy said...

Argh! Sorry about the sprain. I hope you recover VERY quickly (and be good! No cheating, even if you reaaaally wanna cook!)
The Italian issue of Gourmet is always a winner, isn't it? This was a great way to start! (I love the cover of the mag too, yum!) Plus, I got the snickers cos I keep imagining Giada saying pan-chit-a.

Snooky doodle said...

i m sorry about your ankle. Hope it will heel soon, this dish looks wesome I add pancetta to almost every dish. Never tried it with olives though. I ll try it. get well soon !

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm sorry about what happened to you...

That dish looks mighty scrumptious! A winning combination of flavors!



Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, gorgeous! I hope you are feeling better and in full recovery process. Take care, will you?
As for this chicken... I would love to have some for lunch on such a rainy day!

Anonymous said...

Bah. Hoping you heal quickly with no surgery required! This dish looks amazing! Yum!

grace said...

ouch. sorry to hear about your mishap! your chicken looks lovely though. just what is it about roasting that improves so many things? :)

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Susan I hope you'll feel better very soon, what a bad luck :(
Are you taking ibuprofen for that?

The chicken as usual with your posts, absolutely gorgeous!!

Lo said...

That's some fine looking chicken, dear Susan! I'm all about the delicious, salty-briney flavors of late. So, this is right up my alley.

All the best healing vibes for that injury!

Patsyk said...

I'm wishing you a speedy recovery!

That chicken looks amazing! I discovered roasting chicken at the higher temps gives the best results a couple of months back... I'll never go back to the lower temps again. Perfectly crisp skin every time!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that ankle mishap. But sometimes you can fancy up an aircast or whatever those things are called! This is and easy easy dinner menu item. And with pancetta and rosemary, it's too much to handle for our taste buds!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

*Big hugs* Wishing you a speedy recovery. At least it happened when you left the party instead of on the way to the party.

Very nice chicken recipe. You can't go wrong with pancetta!

Anonymous said...

Those are the good black olives I know! This dish is heaven! The magazine, I wish I had it. You do a wonderful job here on the blog. I love your writing and recipes. Keep up the excellent work, ok? :)

Anonymous said...

What a yummy looking chicken! I hope you feel better soon!

Shari said...

Soft asphalt and heels don't mix, I guess! Now, you should put your feet up and relax, read, watch tv, get inspired. I hope your ankle heals fast, though!

Peter M said...

Ahhh, these olives are my fave and we call them "throumpes"...briny and so rich.

Your money shot crispy pancetta warms me so. In fact, I hear pancetta heals sprained ankles too!

Mila said...

Awww Susan my heart goes out to you :( I sprained my ankle many a times..I never did anything right to make it heal, so unfortunately I have two really bad, weak ankles. Hope you feel better really soon! And by the way...those shoes are kinda cute :)

This chicken looks amazing! One of my new favorite flavor combination is garlic, chicken and Pancetta! Yum!

Anonymous said...

First of all Susan, I am sooo sorry about your accident and I hope that you get well asap and with the least invasive method possible. I have been a little behind on reading and commenting and I misses this news the other day.

Hang in there!

Love the idea of this dish, pancetta is a much loved ingredient in our house!!

test it comm said...

Chicken with pancetta and olives sound great!

Nicole said...

So sorry to hear about your injury. I'm sure you will heal quickly! The chicken looks scrumptious!

The Food Hunter said...

Sorry about your ankle. Hopefully it will heal quickly. Like you I really enjoyed the Gourmet magazine this month and plan to be making a few things from it soon. you're chicken looks delicious so I might start with that recipe.

TeaLady said...

Oh! Wow!! Not the break we usually look for. No TWD. Bummer!! Hope you are getting better.

J.L. Danger said...

oh man. You and I can never go out together. It would be a total catastrophe!

Hope you heal up soon!


Aggie said...

I got pretty excited when I saw the cover of this months Gourmet this recipe!! Your pic is making my mouth water!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this chicken looks so good. I'm flagging it to try soon - I like thighs best too so I'll take your lead on that. So sorry to hear about your ankle. Hope you'll take the opportunity for a little relaxation while you recuperate!

Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner tonight, it turned out great. I used pitted kalamata olives instead of the oil cured black olives and they were delicious. Its a great dish to make for a large group.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I grabbed that issue of Gourmet too! I'm so glad you previewed this recipe, now I'm really psyched to try it. Hope the ankle is better soon!

Rachel said...

This chicken looks delicious! I'm bookmarking it for sometime soon here at Chez Marshmallow. I have some oil-cured olives left from another recipe and I've been wondering what to do with them, so this couldn't be more perfect.
I commiserate with your ankle pain; I'm a fellow sufferer, but unfortunately I'm now in a big black neoprene-and-steel moonboot and it looks like I'm heading for surgery! I dearly hope your healing is going better than mine!

mompea said...

I think I've just died and gone to heaven! I used the search engine to look up a cannoli recipe- I was sent to a tiramisu instead!! Could you either direct me or tell me where I can get a cannoli recipe that will make me mother #1 in my son's eyes? It's his favorite dessert and not readily available in our current city.
mompea- (I don't know how to change my email address that I used to set up this acct)

Colleen said...

I made this a few weeks ago for a dinner party and everyone raved about it the rest of the night!

Unknown said...

I love how many different versions of chicken you can create, this one in particular sounds extra amazing. One piece of advice, use all natural, antibiotic and hormone free chickens. They are better tasting and overall, better for you. Check out Coleman Natural Foods for great chicken.