I absolutely love this recipe. The depth of flavor (particularly the next day) is just fantastic. Think of the best sausage and pepper sandwich you have ever eaten, and this dish gives you all of that flavor and much more.
I will preface this one by saying that this is a very very involved dish and the work is best split over a few days. Considering it begins with brining a chicken for 12 hours you really don't have much choice in the matter but, making the brine itself can take a couple hours because it needs to be cold before use.
The book also has a great diagram on how to cut up your chicken into 8 pieces.
Make the brine. One trick you can use is to use one gallon of water instead of 2 when you make it and then add a gallon (8 Lbs) of ice cubes at the end to chill the brine. Stir the ice cubes in to completely blend, and it should be cool enough to handle. It is important to use cold brine as you don't want to to cook the chicken.
Once your brine is cold add your cut chicken, being sure to completely submerge the chicken. The recipe calls for 2, 2.5-3 lb chickens. I only used one chicken, which really only needed a couple of quarts of brine to cover. Freeze the rest.
Also on day one I would reccomned making your Peperonata Rustica. I made mine the same day and it was great, but it added a lot of effort for one day. Also I think the peppers are better day two.
3 Sweet Italian sausages
Fresh chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 350
Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towels or let air dry. I let mine dry in the fridge all day, it gets the skin nice and crispy when you cook it.
In a skillet large enough to hold all of the chicken, heat enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan to medium high heat. Season the thighs and drumsticks with salt and pepper then add them to the hot pan, skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn the chicken and add the sausages. Cook the chicken and sausages 10-12 minutes until the sausages and the chicken are nicely browned, but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside. Season the breasts and wings with salt and pepper and add them skin side down to the pan and cook until the skin is nice and crispy,about 8-10 minutes, turning the wings as needed to brown all around. Remove the chicken to a plate and drain the oil from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the peperonata rustica, bring it to a simmer, cut the sausages into 2-3 pieces and add the chicken and sausage back to the pan and place in the oven to cook through, another 10 minutes or so most likely.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and serve right from the pan.
I was really excited to make this dish when I read it and I was not disappointed at all, the flavors blended so well together and the presentation was beautiful. Don't get me started on the leftovers, as with many dishes the flavors were even better blended the next day.
So while this dish is a lot of work, if you break it up over a couple of days its not too bad, and it was fantastic. Definitely a great show off for your company meal.