This roast chicken with pancetta and olives and garlic from Gourmet magazine is braised in white wine to keep the chicken tender and perfect. Folks are calling it the best chicken recipe they’ve ever made.
This simple chicken recipe with pancetta and olives and garlic is what folks are calling “One of the best chicken recipes ever!” and “crisp-skinned” and “juicy” and “aromatic” and “easy” and “heavenly.” (It’s traditionally made with rabbit, which is lovely, too.) You can use a whole chicken cut into pieces or you could use all thighs or drumsticks if you prefer. Originally published October 22, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
What Wine To Pour With This Recipe
Pondering whether to uncork a bottle of red or white? We’d just as soon open a bottle of each. Gourmet Magazine’s recommended pours for this chicken recipe include, for the white, a Fattoria le Pupille Poggio Argentato ($15), “a blend of traminer and sauvignon blanc, a zippy bright, minderal-laden white that hails from the Tuscan region.” As for the red, they opted for a budget-friendly, less-complex Sangiovese produced by a top-flight brunello producer but made from the vineyard’s younger vines and labeled Talenti Rosso di Montalcino ($14). Don’t forget to take a sip of each and tell us which you prefer with this dish.
Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 8
- Two (3 1/2 pound) chickens or rabbits, cut into 10 to 12 pieces*
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (or less if using particularly salty olives)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 thick slices pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces (about 1/4-inch-thick slices or 4 ounces [113 g] total)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 24 black olives, pitted if desired
- 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and adjust the oven rack to the center position.
- 2. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the oil, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, red pepper flakes, if using, and black pepper, rubbing the mixture all over the chicken.
- 3. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the garlic and pancetta or bacon around the chicken on the baking sheet. Roast until the chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Dribble the wine over the chicken and roast for 8 minutes more. Scatter the olives around the chicken and roast until the skin is golden brown and crisp and the meat is cooked and tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. (If the chicken pieces are particularly large, allow a few extra minutes.) Let the chicken rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken. And if using unpitted olives, you may wish to offer a word of warning to guests.
*HOW TO CUT CHICKEN INTO PIECES
- Most of the time when you buy a package of bone-in, skin-on chicken, you get 8 pieces. But for this recipe, you need the chicken cut into 10 to 12 pieces. So once you get home, you’ll need to grab a cleaver or very sturdy knife and cut each chicken breast half crosswise through the bone into 2 equal pieces or, if your chicken breasts are exceptionally large, into 3 pieces. This makes the chicken breast pieces closer in size to the thighs and drumsticks to ensure even cooking. Or you can buy a whole chicken and chop it entirely up yourself, which tends to be less expensive than buying an already may wish to cut the chicken into pieces. To do this, use a sharp, heavy knife to first remove the wings. Then separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Halve the breast portion of the hen along the backbone, then use a sharp, heavy knife to cut each half crosswise through the bone into 2 relatively equal pieces or, if your chicken breasts are exceptionally large, into 3 pieces. Yes, you can instead ask the butcher to do this for you with a sweet smile. If your store even has a butcher. Don’t forget to ask him to keep the backbone and neck for you, which can be stashed in the freezer for a future batch of chicken stock.