Over cocktails on Thanksgiving Day I had the pleasure of thumbing through Nancy Silverton’s latest cookbook-Mozza At Home. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, beginning with her well known La Brea Bakery. At the time it was one of the only places around southern California to get what you might call artisan bread and whenever driving through LA we would make a detour to stock up on baked goods.
Years passed, the bakery was sold, but Ms. Silverton continued to delight her fans with the restaurants-Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza-that she opened with partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianch. I’ve had many a meal happily sitting at the pizza bar watching the cooks do their thing. Although the menu also features entrees, I could never seem to break away from ordering pizza. I did get take out one afternoon and I think it might have been this dish. I made something similar before, but Nancy’s rendition takes it to a new level. The recipe may seem like it has a lot of steps, but it’s certainly worth the time as the finished dish is packed with layers of flavor.
Chicken Thighs with Italian Sausage and Spicy Peppers
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. (about 3 links) Italian sausage
10-12 medium garlic cloves peeled & grated online microplane
12 spicy pickled peppers
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
3 bunches broccolini
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay the chicken thighs, skin side up on a baking sheet and season the skin with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and a light grinding of pepper. Pour the canola oil into a large cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet and put on the stove over low heat. Before the oil heats up, put the sausage links in the pan and cook them until they are deep brown all over an cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. It’s crucial that you cook them over low heat to prevent the casings from breaking. Remove the sausages to a plate.
Increase the heat to high and heat the fat in the pan for 1 minute. Put half the chicken thighs skin side down into the pan and sear until the skins are golden brown, about 8 minutes, adding more thighs to the pan as those already in the pan shrink and make room for more. As the thighs are done use a thin metal spatula to carefully remove them from the pan, taking care not to tear off the skin and transfer them skin side up to a plate.
Reduce the heat to low and drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.Tilt the pan so all the fat is in one area. Add the garlic to the area with the fat, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant but not browned. Add the pickled peppers and cook for 1 minute.
Increase the heat to high, add the white wine, and use a spatula to scrape up the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and the pickling juice. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir to combine the ingredients. Return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side up and add any juices that collected on the plate. Nestle the sausages between the chicken. Add enough stock to just some up to the top of the thighs without submerging the skin.
Increase the heat to high and return the stock to a boil. Turn off the heat and put the lid on the pan. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the sausages to a plate to cool. While the chicken is cooking trim and discard the dry ends from the broccolini.
Increase the oven to 450 degrees and return the chicken to the oven, uncovered until the skin is dark and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and place the pan on the stove top.
Using tongs remove the chicken from the pan and put it skin side up on a plate. Add the broccolini to the pan completely submerging in the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and cook the broccolini until it is tender but still al dente and the liquid has reduced to a thick, saucy consistency. If the broccolini is done and the liquid needs to reduce further, remove the broccolini from the pan and continue to cook the liquid to the desired consistency.
Place broccolini on a large platter and pour sauce over. Lay chicken thighs over the broccolini and nestle sausage slices around. Serves 6-8.