For me, there is no denying the delicious flavors and pleasure of fall cooking as summer dishes make way for hearty stews and braises. Sicilian Braised Chicken with Salami & Olives tickles your taste buds in exactly the right places without being fussy and labor intensive. The sauce has a lot of good things going for it – fennel, onions, tomato paste, wine, herbs – but what brings it all together and makes it unforgettable is the salami and olives. They not only add salt, but a deeper, richer seasoning that comes not just from salt, but from foods cured in salt.
I use Calabrese Salami from the Deli section of the supermarket because it adds some zinginess but use any salami you like. Castelvetrano olives are my first choice, but any firm, green olive (Italian or French) works well. Typically, I would use bone-in chicken for a braise, but because this sauce is so complex and flavorful and does not need a long cooking time, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are perfect, making this a quick braise. Make it a “one pot” meal by adding potatoes and carrots or serve the sauce and chicken over polenta, rice, or mashed potatoes. Incredibly delicious!
Sicilian Braised Chicken with Salami and Olives
- 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Flour for dredging
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
- ½ large fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- ½ jalapeno pepper, finely diced (or red chili pepper flakes to taste)
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- 2 ounces Calabrese salami, diced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- ½ cup (or more) pitted Castelvetrano olives, cut in half plus 2 tablespoons of brine
- 8 ounces small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in half if on the larger size
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- Chopped parsley for serving
- Add olive oil to a deep skillet or braising pan over medium high heat.
- Dry the chicken well and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
- Brown the chicken well; remove from pan and set aside.
- To same pan, add onion, fennel, garlic, rosemary, jalapeno and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes, until fennel and onion are soft.
- Add salami and cook, continuing to stir until fat has rendered out.
- Pour in the wine and cook to reduce.
- Stir in the tomato paste and continue to stir, cooking for about 3 minutes.
- Add flour, stir to incorporate making sure no lumps remain. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stirring continuously, cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken, olives, potatoes, and carrots to the sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- Serve with fresh, chopped Italian parsley.