Using Lidia Bastianich’s recipe as a starting point, I added sautéed spinach and Italian sausage to the basic recipe. Served with mashed potatoes, and a salad, this dish served six with leftovers.
One thing I know about myself is that I hate last minute cooking when we are having friends over for dinner. To avoid that, I tend to do as much as possible ahead of time. In the case of this dish, I think that prepping and seasoning the individual components before combining them added to the flavor. Baking the sausage certainly eliminated some of the grease.
About 4 pounds of boneless, skinless
chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces.
6-8 Italian sausages, cut into chunks
About a pound of baby spinach, sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
6-8 garlic cloves (depending on size), thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
olive oil, Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Make Ahead Method:
- Up to a day ahead, cut the thighs into generous bite-sized pieces (not too small!) Season with salt and refrigerate.
- This could also be done a day ahead. Bake the sausage links in a 375 oven for about 35 minutes. Drain off excess grease. Cool and refrigerate.
- Over moderate heat, lightly saute a clove or two of minced garlic in a deep pot filmed with a splash of olive oil. Add the baby spinach, seasoned with salt. The mountain of spinach will quickly reduce to a fraction of its former self. Cool and set aside, or refrigerate. Drain off excess liquid.
- When you’re ready to make the dish, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken with salt. Cook the chicken in batches to enhance browning. Add an even layer of chicken to the skillet. Cook until lightly brown on all sides. Remove and repeat with the next batch.
- Return all the chicken to the pan. Cut the sausage links into chunks. Add them the chicken. At this point, add the garlic. Toss everything together to combine and stir things around for a few minutes to brown everything and cook the garlic.
- Add the vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for a minute or two. Sprinkle with the oregano. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is fully cooked. Timing depends on the size of the pieces, and how far you are in the cooking process. Check after ten minutes or so.
- Add the spinach. Stir to combine. Check for seasoning.
- At this point, I transferred everything to a baking dish. About 45 minutes before dinner, I covered the pan with foil and put it in a 375 oven. I uncovered it for the last 15 minutes.
Restaurants often serve this combined with a tubular pasta to make an all-in-one dish. But it was happily sided by mashed potatoes at our house.