When we visited Milano last year, we had a lovely evening with Bea of Viaggando con Bea and her husband Gigi. Bea brought me a very thoughtful gift: a book (in Italian) with recipes from Brianza (“Brianza in cucina: storia, tradizioni e ricette della gastronomia briantea”). Monza e Brianza is a province in Lombardia, just North of Milano. I’ve tried some of the recipes from the book, and this is the first one I’m sharing with you.
Pollo nello stovin literally means “Chicken in the stovin“, where the stovin is an earthenware container with a cover that was put in the hot ashes of a wood fire in the fireplace hearth. If you don’t have a fireplace, an oven will do.
This dish is very easy to prepare and remarkably delicious, as is often the case with simple but good ingredients prepared in the right manner. The book prescribes a whole chicken, but I used chicken thighs instead. It is important to use chicken thighs with skin and bones, as this is an important factor in the flavor and texture of the dish. And of course it is important to use good chicken (free range/organic).
The recipe calls for cipollotti, springs onions with a bulb. If you can’t find those, you can use the white part of regular spring onions.
For 3 servings
3 chicken thighs with skin and bones
100 grams (2 handfuls) each of chopped carrot, celery, potato, and cipollotti (spring onions with a bulb)
butter to grease the dish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh sage leaves
3 small rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 170C/340F.
Peel the potatoes and carrots. Remove the tough fibre on the celery with a potato peeler.
Thickly slice the carrots, celery, and cipollotti. Dice the potatoes. Divide each vegetable in halves.
Select an oven dish with a cover (or a casserole or a Dutch oven) in which the chicken will fit snugly in a single layer. Grease the dish with butter. Cover the bottom with half of the vegetables. Season with salt.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Arrange them in a single layer on top of the vegetables. Arrange the sage and rosemary around the chicken.
Cover with the remaining vegetables and season lightly with salt.
Cover the oven dish. You could also use aluminum foil or even a simple dough of flour and water to cover the dish.
Put the dish in the oven at 170C/340F until the chicken is golden brown, about 2 hours.
Serve the chicken with the vegetables on preheated plates, and spoon over some of the liquid from the dish.
We enjoyed this with a Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). This would also work with another light red like a Beaujolais, Bardolino or Valpolicella. But a full bodied white wine would also be great.
The flashback for today is also for a simple dish, but this one is from Liguria instead of Brianza: chestnut tagliatelle with pesto.