La Masseria…  It translates loosely as “The Farmhouse” and was essentially the inspiration for today’s recipe.  Tuscans eat a lot of chicken,  though throughout Tuscany you won’t see much chicken on restaurant or trattoria menus.   Chicken is “inexpensive, peasant food” and most Tuscans wouldn’t think about going out to eat and ordering chicken.  Therefore, it’s rarely seen on menus.  This recipe is simple, hearty and comforting and comes from the Farmhouse.  

Farmhouse Chicken with Mushrooms

2 skinless, boneless breasts cut into pieces
6 skinless, boneless thighs
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 vidalia onion, sliced
6 oz. brown crimini mushrooms, chopped large
6 oz. shittake mushrooms, chopped large
6 sage leaves
1 cup frozen Peas
1/2 bottle White wine
2 Tbls. Tomato paste
Corn starch (if needed)
In a heavy bottomed pot, such as Le Creuset, begin by browning the chicken pieces in some olive oil.  Take the time to develop some nice color on the meat.  It won’t take long and it really adds depth of flavor to the finished dish. 
Remove the chicken to a platter and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pot.  Saute until color starts to transfer to the onions and the mushrooms begin to brown and soften, about 8 minutes. Again, take the time to render some color on the vegetables. Add extra olive oil as you go if needed. 

Once the vegetables are softened, deglaze the pot with white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan clean of the browned bits.  Increase the heat to a boil and cook off the alcohol in the wine.  Add the tomato paste and stir through to combine.  Return the chicken and their juices to the pot, cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.  Just before serving, add about 1 cup of frozen peas – mostly for color – and add the sage leaves just before serving.  If you need to thicken the sauce,  dissolve a few teaspoons of corn starch in cold water and stir it into the pot.  

~ The finished dish.  You can see the consistency of the sauce well in this photo.  This dish is easy to make and since it essentially cooks itself for the last 30 minutes, it frees you up for other things ~

With this wonderful dish we opened the most recent release of Piaggia’s Carmignano “Il Sasso” or “The Stone”.  I’ve covered this wine extensively on TuscanVines since the 2008 vintage and it has never failed to impress.  Frankly, it stuns for the value it delivers.  

The 2013 Il Sasso is a beautiful vibrant violet color in the glass and exudes aromas of crushed berry, black plums, minerals, tobacco and cedar.  Typically a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet, Carmignano is in a sense, the original Super Tuscan.  Piaggia consistently scores with this single vineyard effort. 

On the palate this is classy and refined.  A medium to full bodied core of ripe berry fruit is accented by pipe tobacco, leather, sweet fennel, Tuscan herbs and spices.  It over delivers in complexity given the price point.   Juicy and flavorful,  this is well balanced and bright with mid weight tannins and acids that lend structure and ageability.  I love this wine young, as I typically do with “Il Sasso”  but this can effortlessly age up to 5 years without suffering.  Recently purchased on sale for as little as $18, this is a complete steal.  94 points.  

~ Always a consistent winner ~

E vero! 

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