Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Pollo Soffritto

I seem to be following a bit of a chicken theme here on The 21st Century Housewife's Kitchen recently - but it is such a versatile and healthy meat (provided you buy pasture raised, free range or organic) that I am always drawn to cooking with it. This is a classic Italian dish, and is very easy to make. My son and I learned to how at the Miele Simply Cooking Introduction to Italian Masterclass we attended, and since then it has become a bit of a family favourite. I say a bit of a family favourite, as my husband is not quite so keen. I think the next time I make this recipe I will reduce the amount of cinnamon used yet again, or possibly leave it out completely and that may improve his opinion of it! 

As for me, I find this recipe comforting, delicious and perfect when you have had a bit of a rough day - especially if you serve it with a nice glass of wine! There is quite a lot of chopping involved, but I'm one of those folks who finds chopping or repetitive stirring very therapeutic in times of stress. And to be fair, you could do a lot of the chopping ahead of time, cover the vegetables and keep them in the fridge until you want to cook the dish. 

Soffritto refers to the vegetable and sauce mixture that is an integral part of this delicious dish. I made a few small amendments when we made it at home, so here is my version of the recipe.

juice of 2 lemons
plain flour for dredging
1 free range (pasture raised) chicken, jointed or 8 chicken pieces (I used 4 chicken breasts)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
cup dry white wine
4 cinnamon sticks (I only used 2)
¾ cup chicken stock
1 egg yolk
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soffritto

cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
a large handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped (I used two carrots)
1 teaspoon salt (I used less than this)
4 strips of lemon zest
leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (I omitted this)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
freshly ground pepper

Start with the soffritto. Heat the cup extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion, celery and carrot. Season with some salt and pepper. Cook gently, softening the vegetables for at least five minutes. Add the rosemary, sage (if using), parsley, strips of lemon zest and garlic and cook over low heat for a couple more minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Turn the heat down a bit.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the flour and coat thoroughly.

Heat the 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken pieces over a medium heat until golden brown on all sides. Add the wine and cook for five minutes (uncovered) to reduce.

Add the soffritto, half the lemon juice and the cinnamon to the pan and stir well.

Add the stock, cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes (about 20 minutes for chicken breasts).

Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and the chicken is cooked. Remove any large pieces of lemon zest and the cinnamon sticks.

Beat together the remaining lemon juice and the egg yolk in a small bowl. Remove the chicken from the heat and add the lemon and egg mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Serve immediately. Do not reheat the chicken once you have added the lemon and egg mixture as it will spoil the taste.


  1. sounds really delicious! gloria

  2. thank you for sharing this great recipe, I cannot wait to try it!


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