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Chicken Scarpariello

My stepmom told me a few weeks ago that she’d made chicken scarapiello because my sister was coming down for dinner. I hadn’t heard of this dish before, but when she explained what it was I hit the internet and found a few recipes for it. One just called for chicken in it, but Donna said that the one she’d made had sausage in it too. The recipe from the New York Times that I found seemed to be more like the one she had described, but the Rachel Ray recipe that I found had a delicious-sounding lemon orzo that you served it on. I combined the two recipes and fiddled with them a bit and came up with the following. Do take the extra steps and make the lemon orzo — the combination of the slightly spicy chicken with the lemon infused orzo was really taste.

Chicken Scarpariello

Original recipe from the New York Times, which was adapted from ”Rao’s Cookbook”. Adapted again by Crafty Farm Girl, 2011.

The original NYT recipe created 6 servings. I fiddled around with quantities since I knew I wanted to create dinner for 2 nights. I would say that this recipe would serve 10, but you can adjust quantities down to serve less if you would like. The original recipe also called for 1-1/2 cups of vegetable oil. Short of deep frying the chicken, I couldn’t possibly imagine why it called for so much oil. I used about 5-6 tablespoons to brown everything and found that to be plenty. If you find things dry or sticking to the pan excessively, then add a little more oil. The original recipe also called for potatoes, but since I knew I wanted to use the lemon orzo, I eliminated this.

YIELD 10 servings

NOTE:  This is even better if prepared a day ahead. Prepare until the chicken has cooked through, then let cool and refrigerate. Reheat, covered, until heated through. Uncover and continue simmering until sauce is reduced slightly.


  • 5-6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5-6 pounds chickens, rinsed & patted dry (I used skin-in breasts, whole legs & thighs)
  • 8 links Italian sausage (4 hot and 4 sweet), in the casings, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 large bell peppers (red, yellow or green), seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into thin rounds
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 to 8 hot vinegared cherry peppers, left whole
  • 2 to 3 small potatoes, peeled, boiled and sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Please note that the hot cherry peppers are not in this photo. It took me 3 grocery stores to find them, so I added them the next day after I found them and before I re-heated the dish to serve.The onions also aren't in the photo. I forgot them.


    Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the chicken, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.

    Add the sausage and sauté until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. In the same pan, sauté the bell peppers, jalapeños, onion and garlic until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. As I typed this up I realized that I forgot to add the onions! I had them sitting on the counter, but must have missed that step in the directions and omitted them. I would certainy add them the next time, although it was delicious without it too. Remove and drain. Drain any oil from the pan.

    Pour chicken broth, wine, vinegar, oregano, salt & pepper into saute pan and heat on medium, whisking to stir up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Place the sausage, chicken and vegetables into a large dutch oven (or a crock pot if you prefer). I don’t often use a crock pot, but several of the recipes I looked at called for using one, so I decided to try it. I quickly abandoned it as it wasn’t cooking things quickly enough for me. I then switched everything to a large dutch oven and used the oven. After cooking I cooled it down, put it in the fridge overnight and ate it the next day for dinner. Letting is sit overnight certainly does improve the flavor. Pour the heated liquids over the chicken, sausage & vegetables. Add the hot cherry peppers. Cover and simmer on low until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can place in a 275 degree oven and cook for an hour. Serve hot over the lemon orzo.

    Orzo with Parsley and Lemon Zest

    • 1 pound orzo
    • Coarse salt
    • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
    • 4 large lemons, zested
    • Black pepper
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
    • Cook orzo in salted water about 12 minutes, to al dente. Drain orzo well. Do not run under cold water. You want the cooked pasta to remain hot. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Drizzle orzo with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley and toss to combine the flavors with the pasta.

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