There are at least three explanations for why the Italians named this dish chicken scarpariello, or “shoemaker’s chicken.”
The first is that chicken bones may sometimes stick out of a diner’s mouth as he eats the dish—recalling a cobbler who holds tacks between his teeth as he works. The second refers to the fact that the various ingredients in this dish can be easily “cobbled” together. The third is a salute to a delicious and filling dish that even the family of a poor southern Italian shoemaker could afford.
I’ve been a fan of chicken scarpariello for years. Apparently there are several versions of it, but the one that makes my mouth water stars chicken thighs, sausages, hot pickled cherry peppers and vinegar. I’m always knocked out by the cozy way these ingredients play together. The chicken and sausages are rich. The vinegar and peppers—spicy and acidic—are perfect complements. Bake them all together in a large pan and marvel at the way they mingle with wine and broth to produce a super savory sauce.
And because you are using so many prepared ingredients (the peppers, artichokes and Italian sausage links), there’s really very little work to do. Just brown the chicken and sausage, and prep the onion and garlic. Ultimately, chicken scarpariello is a simple one-pan meal. If you don’t want to bother making the two side dishes I suggest below, you can easily get away with a tossed green salad and a loaf of crusty bread.
This recipe also happens to be quite adaptable. Don’t like dark-meat chicken? Substitute white meat. Not a fan of the peppers’ heat? Substitute roasted sweet red ones. Want to make the recipe leaner? Slice in turkey sausage instead of pork sausage. However you prepare it, this hearty meal will be a welcome treat at the start of fall.