Cutlets alla Palermitana

Cotolette alla Palmermitana finished dish

Cotolette alla Palmermitana finished dish

A lot of people know the recipe for cotolette alla milanese.  This much lighter version comes from Palermo in Sicily. It uses a lot less oil as it is baked, not fried and no egg is used.

  • 500 g sliced ​​meat (beef, pork or chicken)
  • 300 g breadcrumbs
  • 30g capers desalted and chopped
  • 50g black olives, stoned and chopped  (I only had green available, but it didn’t make too much difference)
  • 50g Cacio cavallo , Parmesan or pecorino Romano, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Chopped parsley to taste and/or chopped mint
  • 30g chopped almonds (optional)
Cotolette alla Palmermitana ingredients

Cotolette alla Palmermitana ingredients

Prepare the coating by mixing together the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley,cheese, olives and capers.

Cotolette alla Palmermitana bread mixture

Cotolette alla Palmermitana bread mixture

Beat the steaks so they are thin and an even thickness. Coat them first in oil, and then the bread mixture.

Cotolette alla Palmermitana ready for oven

Cotolette alla Palmermitana ready for oven

Place the cutlets on a baking tray that you have first lined with greaseproof paper.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°c until they are golden brown. About 10 minutes.

 

Rabbit with polenta

Polenta cuni finished dish

Polenta cuni finished dish

bergamo crestFrom Bergamo. Polenta e cüní. This is the most common Sunday lunch in Bergamo, and is one of the dishes I miss from my time living there. The are many variations on the recipe. This one comes from Slow Food Italy.  Serves 4

Polenta cuni ingredients

Polenta cuni ingredients

  • 1 rabbit, cut into portions
  • 50g lardo, guanciale or fatty pancetta
  • 100g butter
  • 2 glasses of dry white wine (Slow Food recommends Valcalepio)
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 clove

Put the rabbit in a pan large enough to contain it in a single layer. Place over a high heat for a few minutes to completely dry out the pieces.

Polenta cuni lardo

Polenta cuni lardo

Reduce the heat a little and add the lardo, butter, clove and sage. Brown the meat.

Polenta cuni browning the rabbit

Polenta cuni browning the rabbit

Add the wine and let it evaporate, stirring from time to time.

Polenta cuni with wine

Polenta cuni with wine

Reduce the heat to low, cover and continue cooking until the rabbit is tender. There shouldn’t be a lot of liquid while it’s cooking, but if it looks like drying out, add a little stock. The cooking time will vary according to the rabbit, but it will be at least two hours, maybe longer.

About five minutes from the end of cooking, add the remaining butter and the chopped rosemary. The rabbit should be quite dry, almost crispy on the outside, and moist on the inside.
Serve it with polenta made according to the instructions on the packet. If I don’t have a polenta machine available to stir it, I usually use the quick cooking variety. A lot of Bergamasci regard this as a heinous crime though 🙂

Chicken cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore finished dish

Chicken cacciatore finished dish

LiguriaPollo alla cacciatora.  It is very common to find versions of this dish outside of Italy, especially in the United States, however they often bear little resemblance to dishes found here. Even the spelling has been changed, possibly reflecting a dialect spelling originally used by Italian immigrants to the States. The name translates as hunter’s style chicken. I am a bit unsure why as I am unaware of anybody hunting chickens 🙂 You can also prepare rabbit in this way so maybe that was the original recipe. There are many versions in Italy, but the common factor is the chicken is cooked with white wine and tomatoes. This version is from Liguria. As always, if you can find a really good free range, or at least corn fed chicken it will improve the dish no end. Serves 4-6.

  • 1 chicken cut into cut into 6 or 8 pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Half a celery stalk, chopped
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • A bay leaf
  • A glass of white wine
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, peeled and deseeded (or an equivalent amount of tinned)
Chicken cacciatore ingredients

Chicken cacciatore ingredients

Brown the onions, the celery and the garlic in a large pan.

Chicken cacciatore browning the onions

Chicken cacciatore browning the onions

Add the chicken pieces, rosemary, sage and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes over a reasonably high flame.

Chicken cacciatore browning the chicken

Chicken cacciatore browning the chicken

Lower the flame and add the wine and cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook until the chicken is done. About 45 minutes. Serve directly from the pan.

Variations

  1. Some people like to add a little chopped parsley at the end
  2. You can also add sliced fresh or reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms along with the chicken.

Rabbit alla cacciatore

bergamo crestConiglio alla Cacciatore or Huntsman’s Rabbit. When I lived in Bergamo the Sunday lunch was usually roast rabbit with polenta. I was regularly woken at seven in the morning by my neighbour grinding his polenta under my bedroom window. I’m sure he did it on purpose (we didn’t get on that well 😉 ) I see that rabbit is coming back into fashion in the UK, so I thought I’d share this recipe. It’s not roast rabbit, but another common Bergamasco dish. You can use any type of mushroom, even porcini if your bank balance will stand it. Serves 4

Rabbit with mushrooms ingredients

Rabbit with mushrooms ingredients

  • 1 rabbit cut into portions
  • 400 g mushrooms
  • 100 g passata
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Chop the carrot and celery into small strips and thinly slice the onion.
  2. Add to a pan with 3 tbsp of olive oil and cook over a medium heat until the onions start to go translucent.
  3. Add the rabbit pieces and brown. Sprinkle them with the flour.
  4. Thinly slice the mushrooms and sautè them in a separate pan with the rest of the olive oil and the whole, lightly crushed clove of garlic. Cook until they are well coloured and start to give off their juice.
  5. Add to the pan with the rabbit and add the wine. Cook over a high heat until the wine has reduced by half.
  6. Add the passata and stock, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about and hour over a low to medium heat.
  7. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with polenta.
Rabbit with mushrooms

Rabbit with mushrooms

Rabbit fricassee

Coniglio in fricassea. There are many recipes for rabbit in fricassea but this is the simplest and most straight forward I could find. It’s basically rabbit served with a sauce made from egg yolks and lemon juice. Serves 4.

Rabbit fricassee ingredients

Rabbit fricassee ingredients

  • 1 medium rabbit — cut into portions, washed and dried with kitchen paper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • plain flour
  • the juice of a Lemon
  • 1 whole Chilli – fresh or dried
  • olive oil
  • 1 knob butter
  1. Lightly dust the rabbit with flour.
  2. Fry the pieces in a little olive oil to which you’ve added the knob of butter.
  3. When the rabbit is nicely coloured, season with salt, add a ladle of water and cook over a low heat for around an hour and a half. If it looks like drying out, add a little more water.
  4. When the rabbit is done remove to a serving plate and keep warm.
  5. Beat the egg yolks together with the lemon juice and add the mixture to the cooking liquid left in the pan. Stir rapidly until you have a smooth sauce.
  6. Top the pieces of rabbit with the sauce and serve.
Rabbit fricassee finished dish

Rabbit fricassee finished dish

 

Soused chicken breasts

Petti di pollo in carpione. I got this recipe from the English translation of il cucchiaio d’argento – The Silver Spoon. This book is I think on the whole a clever marketing trick. It is a 1950s cookbook with a few modern recipes tacked on the end. Add to that an appalling translation, don’t trust any measurements! The recipes still appear in the original Italian alphabetical order even though they have been translated into English. I have met some people who have heard of it here, a bit like the good housekeeping books in the UK, but I have yet to find anybody who has used it. It can be useful for ideas if you already know what you are doing. The following recipe is in fact very nice 🙂 Serves 4

Soused chicken breasts ingredients

Soused chicken breasts ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast portions
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g breadcrumbs
  • 25 g butter(or use all oil)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil (I usually use much less)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 350 ml white wine vinegar
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 4 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Beat the chicken with a meat mallet until evenly thin.
  2. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt in a dish, add the chicken and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Spread out the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Drain the chicken and dip in the breadcrumbs to coat.
  3. Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan, add the chicken and cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another pan, add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the vinegar and wine and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat and add the sage and garlic.
  5. Place the chicken in a dish, pour the hot marinade over it, leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

Soused chicken breasts

Rabbit marinated in white wine

 Coniglio marinato.

Serves 6

marinated rabbit ingredients

  1      rabbit — cut into portions
  30   grams  butter
  1/2 litre  dry white wine
  2     tablespoons  white wine vinegar
  1     onion
  1     carrot
  1     stick  celery
  3     tablespoons  olive oil
         peppercorns
         salt and pepper

  • Put the rabbit pieces in a dish along with the onion, carrot, celery, wine, vinegar and a few peppercorns. Marinate for at least 6 hour in the fridge.
  • When you are ready to cook the rabbit, remove it from the marinade and dry well with kitchen paper. Add the butter and oil to a pan and brown the rabbit pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Strain the marinade and add about 2 ladelfuls to the pan. Allow to evaporate a little and then cover the pan.
  • Cook over a low heat for about an hour and a quarter. If it looks like drying out, add a little more of the marinade.
  • marinated rabbit finished dish

Chicken stock

As it’s so important to use good stock, I thought I’d include a recipe.

chicken stock ingredients

  •   1 cooked or raw chicken carcass
  •   2 celery sticks — roughly chopped
  •   1 large  onion — roughly chopped
  •   2 carrots — roughly chopped
  •   1 handful  parsley stalks
  •   ½  head  garlic
  1.  Put the chicken carcasses into a stockpot, cover with 2½ litres water and bring to the boil. Using a large metal spoon, skim off any white scum from the surface.
  2. Add the vegetables, parsley and garlic to the pan. Return to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 2½ hours, skimming occasionally.
  3. Strain the stock through a colander lined with wet muslin into a large, heatproof bowl. Discard all the debris. Reduce the stock for a stronger flavour, if desired. Cool, chill and use the stock within 3 days or freeze in portions. I reduce the stock as much as I can, and then pour it into ice cube trays.

chicken stock finished

 

Quail 'alla cacciatora'

 Quaglie alla cacciatora. Have you ever seen quail in the supermarket and wondered what the hell you are supposed to do with them? I finally decided to have a go cooking them. An Italian friend gave me this recipe and it was a piece of cake to make. It would work well with chicken pieces as well, if you don’t fancy the quail.

Serves 3

quail in white wine ingredients 

  6   quail
  70 grams  butter
  1   glass  white wine
  2   tablespoons  flour
  1   bay leaf
  1   tablespoon  parsley — chopped
       salt and pepper   

  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the quail and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and fry until the quail are done, turning frequently so they are evenly coloured, about 15 minutes. Remove to a warmed serving dish.
  • Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure there are no lumps. Add the wine and stir rapidly until the sauce is smooth. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour the sauce around the quail, sprinkle on the parsley and serve.

quail in white wine ingredients

Chicken breasts baked with parmesan

Petti di pollo al forno con parmigiano

Serves 4

chicken with parmesan ingredients

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl a beat together with a pinch of salt.
  2. Flatten the breasts slightly using a meat mallet or a rolling pin
  3. Dip each breast first into the egg mixture, making sure it is completely covered, then into the parmesan, pressing down with your fingers so it sticks to the fillets.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Butter a baking tray, add the chicken and liberally spot with small knobs of butter
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

chicken with parmesan finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Pollo ai funghi. If you don’t have enough dried mushrooms, you can add a few regular white mushrooms to bulk it out. Serves 4

  • 150 grams dried mushrooms (preferably wild mushrooms)
  • 1 whole chicken cut into portions (or chicken pieces, legs and thighs etc)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 25 grams butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots (or baby onions) — sliced
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons passata
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and squeeze out. Keep the liquid for flavouring soups or stews.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a pan. Add the chicken and fry, turning frequently, until browned all over.
  3. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook for a few minutes, then add the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
  4. Add the passata and 3 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until the chicken is tender. Cooking time will depend on the chicken – it could take up to an hour
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.

Stuffed chicken legs with Parma ham.

This dish looks quite tricky to prepare but is actually very easy. It’s been a favourite of mine for a while now. It turns an ordinary chicken leg into quite a show off dish. Serves 4

Stuffed Chicken Leg ingredients

Stuffed Chicken Leg ingredients

  • 4 whole chicken legs — leg and thigh
  • 4 slices parma ham
  • 50 grams bread crumbs — freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon parsley — chopped
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg — grated
  • 75 grams mortadella — chopped
  • 1 clove garlic — chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • pepper
  • Bone the legs. This is a bit fiddly but not too difficult. You should get one roughly rectangular shaped fillet from each leg.
Boned fillet

Boned fillet

  • Mix together the eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, mortadella and nutmeg to make the stuffing. Season with pepper. Don’t add salt because both the mortadella and the parma ham are quite salty.
  • Place 1/4 of the mix along the centre of each leg fillet.
Fillet with stuffing

Fillet with stuffing

  • Roll up to form a sausage shape and then wrap with a slice of Parma ham. If the slices are quite small then you might have to use two. It is easiest if you place the ham flat on a chopping board, place the chicken on top and then roll up.
stuffed chicken leg ready to cook

stuffed chicken leg ready to cook

  • Place on an oiled baking tray and roast for 20 minutes at 200°C 400°F or gas mark 6
  • Allow to rest for a few minute and then slice into thick rounds.
Stuffed chicken leg finished dish

Stuffed chicken leg finished dish

Note. The is my version of a recipe by Antonio Carluccio. The original used back bacon instead of Parma ham. If you use bacon you will probably have to tie the fillets with kitchen string. You will also need to brown them in olive oil before roasting

Chicken with capers and lemon

Finally something other than pasta 🙂 This is another really simple dish which tastes great. My attempt to recreate a dish I was served in a university canteen last week. I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that it doesn’t seem to be possible to eat badly here, even in a student canteen!

In the original version the chicken was beaten into a steak, but I prefer it au natural 🙂  It works best with salted capers but it’s still good with pickled. You must soak either variety first though.

If you can’t find unwaxed lemons, you can wash the wax off in hot water.

 

Serves 4

chicken with capers and lemon ingredients

  4       chicken breasts without skin
           flour for dusting
  50    grams  butter
  1       tablespoon  capers — preferably salted
  1       large  lemon — unwaxed if possible
           salt and pepper

  • Dust the chicken breasts with flour
  • Soak the capers in cold water for a few minutes and drain. Squeeze and zest the lemon.
  • Fry the chicken breasts in the butter until golden brown. About 15-20
    minutes depending on the size.
  • Remove the chicken and keep warm.
  • Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice.
  • Add the zest and the capers and stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the chicken breasts and serve.

chicken with capers and lemon finished dish

Ps I was in an artistic mood when I took this shot. Didn’t really work though 🙂