Chicken vesuvio's garlic chicken, potato wedges, and peas in a flavorful wine sauce make this native Chicago recipe a delicious one-dish meal.
If you think Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs are the only foods that Chicago is famous for, think again. Chicken Vesuvio is on the menu of virtually every Italian restaurant in the city, and is rarely found anywhere else.
The story goes that the illustrious 1930's restaurant, Vesuvio's on Chicago's Wacker Drive, invented the dish. If you would like to read a quick paragraph about the restaurant from the 1931 book Dining in Chicago, visit this link at Chicago Ancestors. (Spoiler alert: wait until you see the meal prices!)
What is Chicken Vesuvio?
Chicken vesuvio is a dish historically made with dark portions of skin-on, bone-in chicken. It is first pan roasted and then oven-baked with potato wedges in a garlic, Italian-seasoned white wine sauce. Peas are added toward the end of cooking so they don't get too mushy.
This recipe was given to me by a Chicago-native friend that Kevin went to high school with, Tom, who said it has been in his family for years. He told me he uses whatever potatoes he has in the pantry, and that he interchanges shallots and onions, too. You can also choose virtually any dry white wine. You have a lot of leeway to vary the ingredients in this recipe and still have it turn out great! I love easy-to-make one dish meals, and this fits the bill. I served it with a piece of garlic bread on the side and we were all set.
Here's What You'll Need
- Chicken, bone-in, skin-on
- Olive oil
- Yukon Gold potatoes
- Marsala wine or dry white wine
- Chicken stock
- Italian seasoning
Notes on Key Ingredients
- Chicken - If you want to make this dish historically correct, you will need to use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, or chicken thighs and drumsticks (dark meat.) However, given todays health-conscious lifestyles and many peoples' preference for white meat, you can make this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It is absolutely delicious, but it lacks the beautiful golden color of the pan roasted skin-on chicken.
- Potatoes - My friend recommends Yukon Gold potatoes with the skin on when making this dish. My grocery store was out of Yukon Gold, so I could have used red potatoes or russet. I chose russet potatoes and they worked perfectly. When I use russet potatoes I prefer to remove the skin, but it is not required.
- Wine - Many recipes for this dish specify white wine or dry white wine. I used Marsala cooking wine, which is a golden Sicilian wine that contains brandy. A restaurant we frequented when we lived in Chicago uses Marsala wine in this dish, and it was always excellent.
Let's make some dinner!
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Chicago Style Chicken Vesuvio
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 Yukon Gold potatoes cut into wedges
- ½ cup yellow onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- ⅔ cup Marsala wine or dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Dry chicken pieces well and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Warm olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook 5-7 minutes until chicken is browned and skin is crisp.
- Turn chicken pieces over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Add potatoes, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook on medium-low 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the potato wedges start to brown. Remove the vegetables from skillet and set aside.
- Pour wine into the skillet and cook until reduced in half, 4-5 minutes. Deglaze the pan by scraping the chicken and brown bits from the bottom and sides.
- When wine is reduced in half, return potatoes, onion and garlic to the skillet. Add chicken stock, chopped parsley, and Italian seasoning, stirring to combine. Add the chicken pieces on top.
- Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink at the bone, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees.
- Return the skillet to the stove and remove chicken and vegetables, leaving the liquid. Bring liquid to a simmer; add butter and stir until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add peas to the sauce and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Serve chicken on top of potato wedges and garnish with pan sauce and peas.