Chicken Grandee

This dish was made famous at Mosca’s, but it spread to many other restaurants around New Orleans. Each of them cooks it a little differently. (Mosca’s doesn’t use the sausage or bell pepper in theirs.) Feel free to add a few items of your own into the broiling pan. (If this sounds like chicken Vesuvio, then welcome to New Orleans from the Northeast!)

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs., or three chicken breasts
  • 1-2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 2 lbs. small white potatoes
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs, rosemary
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • Chopped parsley

1. Cut the chicken up into pieces about a third the size that the Colonel uses. Remove small bones, but it’s okay to leave the big ones. Season the pieces with salt and Italian seasoning.

2. Bring about a quart of water to a light boil. Peel the potatoes and cut them into half-moon-shaped slices about a quarter of an inch thick. Drop them into the boiling water for about two minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Prick the skins of the sausages a few times with a kitchen fork. In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausages until browned and firm. (They don’t need to be cooked all the way through, but nearly so.) Remove the sausage, and pour off excess fat from the skillet. When the sausage has cooled enough to handle, slice into coins about a quarter-inch thick.

4. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil to the skillet. Raise the heat to high and heat until the surface begins to ripple. Add the garlic and bell peppers and cook until brown around the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

5. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and brown on all sides. They don’t need to be fully cooked. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chicken and set aside.

6. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and brown the potatoes lightly over high heat, turning once.

7. Put the sliced sausage, pepper, garlic, chicken, and potatoes into a roasting pan, sprinkling the rosemary, oregano, salt, and black pepper as you go and distributing all the ingredients evenly.

8. Put the skillet in the preheated 400-degree oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. When the biggest pieces of chicken are cooked all the way through, it’s ready.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Serves four.