I came across this Ligurian Chicken during my countless weekly hours of hopping between BBC Good Food, BBC Good Food + 1, Food Network and Food Network + 1. I found Gino D’acampo (an Italian) serving up this Italian gem. Italian food is always best when served/prepared/spoken about by an Italian and there is nothing better than a tasty dish cooking a tasty dish! Gino D’acampo and his Ligurian chicken tick all these boxes though I did have to eyeball the quantities as he was slow enough to give exact measurements – book to flog maybe?
What I saw on the telly and what I easily threw together was lovely, tender, juicy chicken enveloped in a thick, sweet, salty, BBQy sauce that hummed of Italian flavours. The prep is so minimal and while there’s about an hour of cooking tops, it’s all so easy, adding little bits of this and that to the pan here and there.
I served this Ligurian Chicken with some delicious Italian Roast Potatoes (washed, unpeeled potatoes, halved and roasted in plenty of olive oil, rosemary, bay leaves and a fist of unpeeled garlic cloves with plenty of salt and pepper, halfway through roasting I turned them and gave them a good dousing of balsamic vinegar.) But in hindsight, hindsight being 20/20, I think a heaping pile of pillowy mashed potato might be better, especially for mopping up all that gorgeous sauce.
As lovely as Gino is to watch, he can be a bit puritanical about his Italian produce. I’m sure this dish would be phenomenal made with ingredients from the local farmers markets of Liguria but for most people that’s a bit impractical. I did use fancy shmancy olive oil and balsamic vinegar but the rest I got in the supermarket.
- 3 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)
- 3 tbsp flour
- a generous pinch of se salt flakes
- a good grinding of black pepper
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 100 ml olive oil
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and stem discarded
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 100 ml balsamic vinegar
- 100 g pitted green olives
- 200 ml tomato passata
- 100 ml hot water
- Place the chicken, flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat.
- Peel the garlic and squash them with the side of your knife.
- Heat the olive oiling a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the chicken legs and cook for 5 minutes.
- Then turn the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Take out the chicken and set aside while you make the sauce.
- Add the crushed garlic. anchovies, rosemary and bay to the pan and stir-fry for 2 minutes, helping the anchovies to break up and dissolve.
- Then add the chilli flakes and balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil.
- Allow boil for a minute before you add the olives, passata and hot water. Stir all that together before you return the chicken to the sauce.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken regularly as you bring it to the boil.
- Once it is boiling, baste the chicken again before you turn the heat down to low, clamp the lid on and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, turning and basting the chicken every 10 minutes.
- 40 minutes later, transfer the chicken to a serving plate, spoon over the thickened, reduced sauce and serve.