This is a simple, tasty recipe: stewed soft drumsticks served with an aromatic wine sauce. In Italy this dish is served to children as well, as they say the alcohol evaporates away completely leaving behind a delicious creamy flavor.
In Italian the word for ‘chicken‘ is ‘pollo‘, from the latin ‘pullus‘ which simply meant ‘puppy‘ during the period of the Roman Empire. The shift in meaning of this world has always fascinated me, it makes me think of how much chickens must have been important in an ancient farming society if they were simply called “puppies,” as we call our young pet dogs now. Maybe it is for the same reason that in Italy today we used the word ‘pollo‘ in many figurative expressions describing our everyday life. Some examples? Andare a letto con i polli [going to sleep very early]; conoscere i propri polli [knowing who are you dealing with very well – as if they were “your own chickens”]; ‘far ridere i polli [behaving in such a ridiculous way that even makes the chickens laugh]; lasciarsi spennare come un pollo [to be cheated out of everything you own like a chicken is plucked of its feathers]. Usually, in Italy, we refer to someone as a “chicken” when they act naive and gullible, and let themselves be easily deceived, for example: “you were a chicken if you let yourself be tricked in such an unpleasant way.”
Yesterday I was walking in the Italian neighborhood in Williamsburg and I passed in front of an old-fashioned butcher’s shop. I do this walk almost everyday coming back from school and everyday I think how unfortunately it is that just some months ago another ‘posher’ butcher’s opened right in front of this one, the kind with big windows and a modern Brooklyn-style interiors… the one where my boyfriend usually buys ground beef for our New York Times recipe hamburgers. Everyday I promise myself to enter the older shop, and I never have time. But yesterday I did. Inside there was a butcher with an Italian accent and I found a picture of a very popular Italian saint on the wall (Padre Pio), which made me confident that I was in the right place, and I immediately deduced that the time had come to prepare one of my mom’s favorite dishes for Mark (but of course you don’t need a real Italian butcher to prepare this recipe.) Anyway, I walked home feeling happy.
It was the first time I prepared this recipe since I’ve been here, which surprises me because I’ve always really loved it, and my mom always used to prepare it for me every time we had a ‘romantic dinner’ together, just the two of us, that it is to say without her ‘new’ husband. She always used to prepare an additional drumstick with the intent of leaving me a doggy bag for the next day, but there were never any leftovers. Anyway it’s true, this dish may be better the next day, and I know it because my Italian friends loved it and when I used to invite them over for dinner, I always prepared it the night before because my days were so busy.
If you make it for the net day, just remember not to make the sauce too dense and it will even taste better the day after!
Mark and I used to eat these drumsticks with just my mom’s special roasted tomatoes and some bread to scoop up the sauce (in the U.S. Savourd Bread, of course!) You can serve this recipe with baked potatoes or a simple rocket salad tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The side dish will mix the delicious sauce, makes it even better.
Here is the recipe, two portions, of course… 5 drumsticks (3 for Mark and 2 for me). Ready in 55 minutes.
- 5 drumsticks, well plucked and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons (40 gr.) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, halved
- 4 twigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed
- 2 cups (500 gr.) dry white wine (I love Sauvignon)
- Place the olive oil, garlic cloves and rosemary in a skillet (at least 10″, large enough to contain the chicken and allow you to keep every piece separate.)
- Heat over a medium temperature until the olive oil takes on the scent of the other ingredients.
- Add the chicken.
- Let the drumsticks brown (not burn, just color), approximately 5 min.
- Flip them over and brown the other side, approximately 5 min.
- Add the white wine.
- Cover with a lid and let cook for 20 min.
- Add more wine if necessary. Check frequently that the chicken isn’t burning.
- Flip the drumsticks and over once again and let the cook another 20 min, continuing to monitor. The wine should become a sort of sauce.
This is my way how prefer to do it, you may like you drumsticks more or less well-done.
Remember, if you do not eat this dish immediately after cooking it, you should leave the sauce more liquid because it will evaporate when you re-heated, and it thickens when it cools.
That’s all! Buon appetito!