Happy 17th Birthday, Dennis Farina!


Actor Dennis Farina was a leap baby, born on February, 29, 1944, so technically he’s celebrating his 17th birthday today. In honor of the Chicago native, I’m posting a recipe for Chicken Vesuvio from Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse. The restaurant is named for the late Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster and the photograph above is from Farina’s recent visit. It turns out that tomorrow is Caray’s birthday and the 14th Annual Worldwide Toast to Harry Caray when fans from over 120 countries raise a Budweiser in his honor.

Chicken Vesuvio
1 c. frozen peas
2 whole cleaned (4 pound) roasting chickens
1 cup olive oil
4 large Idaho potatoes
10 cloves whole garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. dry oregano
1 T. granulated garlic
1/3 c. chopped parsley
1 1/2 c. dry white wine
1 1/2 c. homemade (or canned) chicken stock (if using canned broth, reduce the salt in the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Blanch the peas by putting them in boiling water 1 minute. Cut each chicken into 8 pieces.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters lengthwise. In a large roasting pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and garlic cloves and saute the potatoes until golden brown, stirring so they cook evenly. Remove the garlic cloves from the roasting pan and discard them. Remove the potatoes and set aside.

Add the chicken to the pan and saute lightly on both sides of each piece until it is golden brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half.

Return the potatoes to the pan. Season the potatoes and chicken with the salt, pepper, oregano, granulated garlic, and parsley. Add the chicken stock and transfer the pan to the oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

Place the chicken on a serving plate and arrange the potatoes around the chicken. Pour the sauce from the pan over the chicken and sprinkle the peas on top.

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2 responses to “Happy 17th Birthday, Dennis Farina!

  1. I can’t wait to make this! Ya got me at 10 cloves of garlic.

  2. I was listening to the chef program on NPR a couple of weeks ago (forgot the name, but I’m sure you know it), and she was talking about powdered garlic. She said the best was from the Frontier herb company (you can probably get it at Mother Earth), and the worst was McCormicks.

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