Monday, March 1, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Chicken Scarpariello





One of my husband's favorite dishes is Chicken Scarpariello.  He is especially fond of the Chicken Scarpariello at Acappella, an Italian Restaurant in Tribeca that we love to go to for special occasions.  While Acappella has some of the best Italian food in New York, I decided to try my hand at making a Chicken Scarpariello that my husband would enjoy for a lazy Sunday night dinner after the heartbreaking loss of the Gold Medal Hockey Game.  While team USA came up a bit short, this dish did not.  My husband loved it and it was both an enjoyable and easy to make meal.  I served it with spelt berries, an organic grain that I fell in love with for the first time when I had them with my duck confit brunch at the Flatbush Farm the day before.  They proved a great addition and gave a lovely and wholesome texture to this chicken entree.

Sasha's Chicken Scarpariello
1 package Empire skinless & boneless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup white cooking wine
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1 small hot cherry pepper
1 cup spelt berries ( I used Bob's Red Mill Spelt Berries)
salt and pepper to season
Olive Oil (or Canola Oil)
2 tsp of flour

First, prepare the spelt berries the same way you would with rice - 1 cup of the wheat berries to 2 cups of water.  i also seasoned with pepper, salt and the zest of half a lemon.  Bring the water to boil and simmer until the water is gone, and remove the zest.

To prepare the chicken, I cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I seared and browned the chicken on all sides for a couple of minutes with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Then, I put the chicken aside (it gets cooked through later).

I added some more olive oil to the pan and added the diced peppers and garlic.  The hot pepper only ads a bit of heat, so if you do not want any heat, leave it out.  Conversely, if you want a spicy dish, add another hot pepper.  I sauteed the peppers and garlic for about five minutes, before adding the white wine, lemon juice, chicken broth and flour.  I also added the zest from the other half of the lemon.  

I then returned the chicken to the pan and allowed the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes or so until the chicken was cooked through and the sauce was thickened and significantly reduced.  A little bit of flower helps the sauce thicken a little bit (although it is really not a thick sauce at all - it is very light and lemony).   Just towards the end of the process, I added the parsley.  I served the chicken with the spelt berries.  Enjoy!

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