Grilled Calabrian Chicken – A Deliciously Stubborn Hen
When I told Michele I was making a grilled chicken recipe using a jar of chilies from Calabria, she said, “Well, you’ll have to call it stubborn chicken then!” We both laughed. You see, when Michele first met my father, John, he asked her what part of Italy her family was from. When she answered, “Calabria,” he said, “Oh, so you’re really stubborn.”
Michele laughed, and agreed that she was, but asked what that had to do with being Calabrian. My father explained that where he was from, “Calabrese” was jokingly used as a term for a stubborn person, apparently stemming from an inappropriate, yet possibly accurate stereotype.
Far from being insulted, Michele embraced this revelation, and it’s been a source of pride ever since. I know, that’s soCalabrese. Anyway, now that I’ve taken three paragraphs to explain the inside joke with the title, I can finally get to this recipe.
When we first posted our Cornell Chicken recipe, I mentioned wanting to try the same method using different herbs and spices. When I saw a jar of Tutto Calabria chili peppers on a recent shopping trip, I remembered that, and decided to give this a whirl. It was great! Here’s a link to their homepage, in case you want more information on this cool hot product (btw, you’ll need to be able to read Italian).
You should be able to find some at your friendly, local gourmet shop, but if not, it’s not hard to get online. It’s similar to Sambal, and other crushed chili pastes, so if you can’t get it, don’t worry, and just substitute with whatever you find. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
2 chicken halves, or 2 spatchcocked game hens
1 -2 tablespoons Calabrian crushed chilies
2 tbsp rosemary leaves
2 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
1 anchovy filet
1 cup white wine (or plain) vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 1/4 tsp fine salt)