Chicago’s Chicken Vesuvio

The first restaurant in the U.S. to serve Chicken Vesuvio was The Vesuvio restaurant in Chicago. The Vesuvio restaurant was a well-known Chicago restaurant in the 1930’s.  Chicken Vesuvio’s popularity grew and it appeared on menus in Italian restaurants throughout Chicago. In fact, legend has it that Chicken Vesuvio was one of Al Capone’s favorite meals.  Capone used to frequently have dinner at Colosimo’s restaurant and he would order Chicken Vesuvio.  The owner of Colosimo’s “Big Jim” Colosimo and Capone evidently had a falling out, maybe on how the Chicken Vesuvio was cooked, but whatever the reason “Big Jim” was killed on orders from Capone.

Today Chicken Vesuvio is still served in Chicago restaurants.  Here is a recipe for Chicken Vesuvio from one of Chicago’s most famous restaurants.

Harry Caray’s Restaurant Chicken Vesuvio (bone-in)
serves 4

1 cup frozen peas
2 four-pound whole roasting chickens, cleaned and cut into eighths
4 large Idaho russet potatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, oregano, granulated garlic
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1-1/2 cups white wine
1-1/2 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil the peas for one minute; then rinse with cold water. Peel and quarter the potatoes length wise.  Heat the olive oil in a large roasting pan over medium heat.  Add the potatoes and garlic cloves; sauté the potatoes until golden brown (about eight minutes).  Discard the garlic cloves.  Remove the potatoes and set aside.  Add the chicken to the pan and sauté lightly on both sides to golden brown.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce by half.  Return the potatoes to the pan. Season the potatoes and chicken with the salt, pepper, oregano, garlic granules, and parsley.

Add the chicken stock and roast uncovered for 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

Arrange potatoes around the chicken on a serving platter.  Pour the sauce from the pan over the chicken, sprinkle the peas on top, and serve.

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