Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

POPUP_MatiaDuring my travels I am often asked if you can substitute meat with chicken. I thought it was a “Nordic” problem and instead find it is an Italian occurrence.

We have been conquered by chicken. I have nothing against these animals but chicken who are raised in an intensive manner (those who look like turkeys), don’t have any taste.

What is worse, they taste like plastic! Because of this I asked myself, why don’t we talk about a beautiful chicken?

Here we go. We don’t have to go very far. We are in Valdarno. Here there is a breed of chicken: beautiful, white, big breasted with a red five or six pointed breast.

You can recognize it for its large and orange ears. It is a phenomenal chicken who doesn’t like to be closed in a cage. The chickens run around the meadow.

They are practically animals of the forest. In fact, they love to go into the forest where they sleep and lay eggs. But for the rest of the day, they are free.

Since the 1960s the Valdarno breed was found in main Italian cities which butchered as many as 3000 a week. Once intensive breeding was introduced, our friend became too expensive and was forgotten. In the 1990s it was rediscovered thanks to its goodness, and it still remains a rarity.

Forget about chicken hat falls apart at the bones and seems boiled.  Here the bones are well attached and the meat is hard and compact. It is delicious and I eat it in this way: I want to share one of my Eleonora’s favorite dishes, “il pollo buono al curry buono”. Debone the chicken and eliminate the tendons.

Then cut it into cubes. In the meantime cook a white onion and two scallions, finally sliced and stewed with olive oil. Peel two golden delicious apples and add them to the cooked onions and continue cooking until almost caramelized. In another pan, sauté the chicken cubes in hot oil.

It is real chicken so drain it little by little. Add the sautéed chicken to the onions and apples, continue cooking and add the curry which you can find at the Ciappi spice store in San Casciano.

Use more or less one teaspoon per person with vegetable broth or hot water and let it slowly cook for about half an hour. When this sauce is reduced, serve the chicken with boiled and drained warm basmati rice. Here is our “pollo del Valdarno all’indiana”! See you next time!

Matia Barciulli, chef, Technical coordinator Antinori’s restaurants… and father of Brando