Braised Mediterranean Chicken with Red Currants & Passito di Pantelleria

Che buon odore!  Stai cucinando col Marsala, Mommy?  (What a good odor!  Are you cooking with Marsala, Mommy?)

My son greeted me with this surprising question as soon as he opened the door to the house.  I was pleasantly surprised that he can already understand the ingredients I use in cooking with a mere whiff of it.   He loves my chicken cooked with Marsala wine and his ideal chicken recipe is my Lemony Chicken Marsala

He peered in the pan and saw the red currants, tomatoes, olives and lemon cooking with the chicken.   I told him that this time I was using another kind of wine.  Passito di Pantelleria

Evviva!  Sara' buono!  (Great!  It will good!)

Chicken, the thighs especially, is a big part of my cooking.  My son loves it and will even give up pizza at times to have a good chicken dish.  From such a pizza lover, that is something.  So that passes me the responsibility to whip up good chicken dishes as frequently as I could.  

Whenever I don't have an exact recipe to follow, I go for the Mediterranean blend.  It is one thing that my husband and I agree on in cooking because of its use of simple and fresh ingredients available to us.   Most importantly, it's very healthy.  Whatever I have in the kitchen, whether it's fish or meat, I usually put together a handful of fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, olives, lemon and sometimes sun-dried tomatoes & capers when I want an extra strong flavor. 

I had a punnet of fresh red currants in the fridge that I didn't know what to do with. I took them out and scattered them on chicken.  It was a beautiful, colorful dish with splashes of brown, green, yellow, orange & red and the smell of the Passito di Pantelleria was so inviting.  

Have a good weekend!

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Braised Mediterranean Chicken with Red Currants & Passito di Pantelleria

Serves 2
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika 
  • Salt
  • Pepper 
  • Extra virgin olive oil  
  • 1/2 cup Passito di Pantelleria (can be substituted with Marsala wine or any similar straw wine) 
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced + a couple of slices for garnishing when serving
  • 8 fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped coarsely  
  • sprigs fresh thyme + a twig for garnishing when serving 
  • 50 grams or 2 ounces fresh red currants + garnishing when serving
  • 8 olives (I used Gaeta olives.)
  1. Make a couple of slashes on the side of the chicken with the skin to cook the inner part better.
  2. Rub the chicken with the crushed garlic, paprika, salt & pepper.  Leave for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  4. Over medium flame, in a cast iron pan with extra virgin olive oil, cook the chicken with the skin side down. Brown for about 10 minutes then flip to cook the other side.  
  5. Pour the Passito di Pantelleria and put up the fire until the alcohol evaporates.
  6. Add the lemon slices, fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, olives and cranberries.  Cook for 5 minutes together.  Pour the sauce on the chicken and other ingredients while cooking.
  7. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven.  Cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken turns golden brown.  While cooking, pour the sauce on the chicken.