Italian Chicken Recipe

The Jewish community of Italy, tragically, was decimated by the Holocaust. Still, its remaining community has preserved its unique culture and traditions, including a distinctive cuisine that fuses Sephardic, Middle Eastern and Spanish cooking with Italian ingredients and methods. The cuisine of the Italian Jews is a fabulous example of Jewish Fusion at its very best.


1 3-4-pound free range frying chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 cup of flour seasoned with 1 Tablespoon each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup pitted green Sicilian olives, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
½ cup dry red wine


Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
Dredge in seasoned flour.
Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.
Add the chicken pieces and sauté until golden on all sides.
Add the olives, garlic, tomatoes and sage, rosemary and basil.
Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover the pan and add the red wine.
Raise the heat to high and cook rapidly to reduce the pan juices.
Adjust the seasonings.
Transfer to a large warmed platter and sprinkle with more fresh basil.
Serve at once.

Inspired by “Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen” Chronicle Books

About Rabbi Michael Sternfield

Michael Sternfield has been a Reform rabbi for 40 years, most recently serving at Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1995 until 2013. He served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, and briefly as the leader of the Durban, South Africa Progressive Jewish Congregation during South Africa’s historic transition to multi-racial democracy. He is now based in Los Angeles, California.