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Rich and Juicy Chicken Vesuvio Recipe

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Chicago is known for its hearty food to feed the whole family, and our Chicken Vesuvio recipe is a superb way to bring this Italian-American favorite to your dining table to feed more than a few hungry mouths.

With its rich and earthy flavors and soft and crispy textures, this beloved Chicagoan and Italian-inspired dish can quickly become a dinner-time favorite!

Chicken vesuvio with potatoes and peas.

Chicken Vesuvio Recipe

Chicken Vesuvio is, quite literally, comfort in a tray. You’ve got succulent chicken on the bone and melt-in-mouth potatoes soaked in a rich white wine sauce, which naturally is going to soar to the top of plenty of people’s favorite food lists.

But the dish is so much more than that. While simple, there’s a real maturity and intensity to the sauce, which truly does bring all the ingredients together. It’s hearty food, yes, but so much thought and care has gone into making this casserole dish truly special.

Chicken vesuvio

What is Chicken Vesuvio?

Synonymous with the Italian-American cuisine of Chicago, Chicken Vesuvio is a real show-stopper of a main dish. At its simplest, it consists of pieces of chicken on the bone, cooked with potatoes, oregano, garlic, white wine, and olive oil, and baked or roasted until the chicken skin is crispy.

It is named after the famous volcano in Naples, Mount Vesuvius, and while its origin remains unknown, it is believed to have been made popular by Chicago’s Restaurant Vesuvio in the 1930s. Others believe it is named after the volcano because the combination of white wine and hot olive oil is, well, quite the reactive combination, for lack of a better pun!

While Chicken Vesuvio is largely seen as a Chicagoan dish, similar-style chicken dishes can be found in many traditional southern Italian cuisines before the 1930s, which naturally would have been brought to Chicago by Italian immigrants.

Variations

While many of these variations may not be seen as traditional Chicken Vesuvio, you can use them to adapt and change the recipe to your preference:

Chicken: For the most flavorsome Chicken Vesuvio, you should use bone-in and skin-on chicken. We have used thighs in our recipe, but you can also use legs/drumsticks. You can make it with chicken breast, but it won’t be as juicy, and instead will be leaner. Also, you could make it with skinless boneless chicken breasts, but you won’t have the crispy skin or the succulence of the chicken.

Lemon: We have used both lemon zest and lemon juice in our recipe, which brings citrusy notes to the dish.

Peas: We finished our Chicken Vesuvio with green garden peas, which is an optional step.

Fresh herbs: To finish, in our recipe, we have used fresh parsley and chopped oregano. You can also use fresh rosemary.

Peppers: If you’d like to add some heat, some people like to add pepper flakes, or even a dash of hot sauce, for a spicy kick.

Prosciutto: In a similar way that chicken and bacon are often paired, once cooked, you can top the chicken with some Prosciutto ham, to keep things Italian-inspired.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our Chicken Vesuvio recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Chicken vesuvio ingredients
  • Chicken Thighs (bone-in) – 5-6 large thighs (about 2 lb or 900 grams)
  • Potatoes – 8 medium potatoes (about 1.5lb or 680 grams)
  • Olive Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Chicken Stock – 1 cup
  • White Wine – 1 cup
  • Garden Peas – 1 cup (optional)
  • Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon Zest – 1 tbsp
  • Oregano (dried) – 2 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Parsley – 1 bunch

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Mix the spices (garlic powder, salt, oregano, and black pepper) in a small bowl.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (mixing the spices)

Step 2 – Trim the fat off the chicken thighs and add about 2/3 of the spice mix to the chicken (leaving 1/3 of the spice mix aside to use for the potatoes later). Mix well and set aside to marinade.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (chicken thighs)
Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (seasoning the chicken thighs)

Step 3 – Wash and dry the potatoes well, keeping the skin on. Cut into wedges.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (potatoes)

Step 4 – Add 3 tbsp of olive oil and the remaining 1/3 of the spice mix to the potatoes. Mix everything in and set aside.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (seasoning the potatoes)

Step 5 – In a pan, over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken thighs (skin down first for about 5 minutes on the skin side (until you get a nice color on it) and about 3 minutes on the other side.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (frying the chicken thighs in the pan)
Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (frying the chicken thighs in the pan)

Step 6 – Remove the chicken and set it aside, covering it with foil.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (chicken thighs set aside in a bowl)

Step 7 – Add the potatoes to the pan and fry for about 8 minutes, turning them on all sides.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (frying the potatoes)

Step 8 – Set the potatoes aside.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (placing the potatoes in the baking tray)

Step 9 – To the pan, add the chicken stock and white wine do deglaze it. Simmer it for 4-5 minutes.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (adding white wine to the pan)

Step 10 – Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (adding lemon juice)

Step 11 – If your pan is ovenproof, you can return the potatoes to the pan and place the chicken on top. If your pan is not ovenproof, simply use a roasting tray.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (adding the chicken thighs to the potatoes)

First, place the potatoes and then the chicken on top. Then pour the sauce on the potatoes without touching the chicken skin.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (pouring the sauce in the baking tray)

Step 12 – Place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes at 360°F (180°C) until chicken is fully cooked (when the internal temperature of the thighs when read with a meat thermometer reaches 165°F).

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (placing the baking tray in the oven)

This truly is a dish for the senses. Once it comes out of the oven, you’ll hear the sizzle of the potatoes, and smell that wonderful, rich aroma from the oil and white wine. From here, you’re ready to serve.

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (cooked chicken and potatoes)

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of Chicken Vesuvio is that you really can serve it as it and everyone will be more than happy. However, if you want to get a little creative, consider some of these serving suggestions.

Step 13 – Add peas if desired (optionally).

Chicken vesuvio step-by-step (adding peas)
Chicken vesuvio

Step 14 – Add chopped fresh parsley.

Chicken vesuvio

You could also consider:

Bread: A crusty French and Italian loaf definitely won’t go amiss, because you can use the soft bread to mop up that rich, delicious sauce.

Salad: If you don’t like peas but want some greens and vegetables, consider a simple green salad to serve it with.

However you serve it, one thing is for sure: Chicken Vesuvio very much lives up to its name! A dish isn’t named (allegedly) after a volcano for no good reason, and whether you’re feeding the family or entertaining guests at a dinner party, this Italian and Chicagoan favorite is sure to make an impression.

Chicken vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio Recipe Card

Chicken Vesuvio

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Mains
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 5-6 large bone-in chicken thighs about 2 lb or 900 grams
  • 8 medium potatoes about 1.5 lb or 680 grams
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup garden peas optional
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Mix the spices (garlic powder, salt, oregano, and black pepper) in a small bowl.
  • Trim the fat off the chicken thighs and add about 2/3 of the spice mix to the chicken (leaving 1/3 of the spice mix aside to use for the potatoes later). Mix well and set aside.
  • Wash and dry the potatoes well, keeping the skin on. Cut into wedges.
  • Add 3 tbsp of olive oil and the remaining 1/3 of the spice mix to the potatoes. Mix everything in and set aside.
  • In a pan, over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken thighs (skin down first for about 5 minutes on the skin side (until you get a nice color on it) and about 3 minutes on the other side.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside in a warm bowl, covering it with foil.
  • Add the potatoes to the pan and fry for about 8 minutes, turning them on all sides.
  • Set the potatoes aside.
  • To the pan, add the chicken stock and white wine do deglaze it. Simmer it for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and lemon zest to the pan.
  • If your pan is ovenproof, you can return the potatoes to the pan and place the chicken on top. If your pan is not ovenproof, simply use a roasting tray. First, place the potatoes and then the chicken on top. Then pour the sauce on the potatoes without touching the chicken skin.
  • Place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes at 360°F (180°C) until chicken is fully cooked (when the internal temperature of the thighs when read with a meat thermometer reaches 165°F).
  • Add peas if desired (optionally).
  • Add chopped fresh parsley.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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