Sicilian-style Chicken

This unusual dish is full of the exotic flavors of Sicily, echoing the island’s turbulent past when various rulers—Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Spanish to name a few—left a strong imprint on everything from architecture to Sicily’s remarkably varied cuisine. Perhaps Emanuele will make this for us on our Walking & Cooking in Eastern Sicily tour, but in case he has something else in mind, try this at home.


  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 1” piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 gram saffron, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 10 green olives, pitted and sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Peel of one lemon (yellow part only), cut into julienne strips & blanched in hot water for 2 minutes and drained.
  • 1 chicken, skinned and cut into pieces
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Sauté the onion, garlic, cinnamon and ginger in the olive oil until the onion is transparent (not browned). Add the chicken and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat, turning frequently, for 7-8 minutes. Add saffron, water and lemon juice. Cook over low flame for 25-30 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, toss in the sliced olives and the drained, blanched lemon peel. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Drink a full-bodied red wine with this, like a Cerasuolo di Vittoria, an intensely flavored wine from southeastern Sicily, and you’ll see why we moved here! Buon appetito!