Chicken Murphy

The first time I had this dish was in a restaurant in Clifton, New Jersey. My wife and I were on our way to see her mom in Pennsylvania and we stumbled across a restaurant on the way. I saw someone eating it at the table next to us and asked them what it was. Chicken, sausage, potatoes, and peppers, all cooked together in a vinegary brine. Sold.

I reverse-engineered a recipe for myself, and have been enjoying it ever since. Even so, we still always stop at the restaurant to have it whenever it’s on our way.

Pierre Poivre – Recipe by Christian Leue

Serves 6-8


1 bay leaf
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 pounds hot or mild Italian sausage (chicken or pork as you prefer)
1 whole 3-3.5# chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup flour, plus extra to thicken the sauce, if needed
1 Tbsp Pierre Poivre
1 large onion, diced
2 large bell peppers (any color you like), seeded and diced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jar peperoncino peppers, with brine
1 jar cherry or peppadew peppers, with brine
Olive oil


• Mottainai tip – Make a quick stock. Place the chicken giblets, neck, back, and wing tips in a small pot, along with any onions ends and skins. Add 2 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to just below a boil and let simmer while you prepare everything else.

• Lightly coat the inside of a large roasting pan or casserole with olive oil.

• Microwave or boil your potatoes until tender, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4″ thick slices, then add them to the pan.

• In a large stainless sauté pan or cast iron skillet brown the sausage over medium-high heat, then remove and cut into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan with the potatoes.

• Mix the flour with the Pierre and use to coat the chicken pieces. Add some olive oil to the skillet if you need to (you’ll want a good layer of fat on the bottom), and fry the chicken on both sides over medium heat until browned, then add to your roasting pan. Save any leftover flour/Pierre.

• Now sauté the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms until brown in spots and softened, then add to the roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

• Strain your stock directly into the pan you used for frying, and scrape the bottom to dissolve all of the browned bits, add your garlic, then reduce by half. Add 1 cup of either of the brines (your choice depending on how hot/sweet you like it). Optionally, you can use red wine vinegar and two teaspoons of salt if you don’t have brine or prefer no heat.

• Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the leftover flour you used to bread the chicken, and stir until you have a loose paste. If you don’t have any leftover flour use 2 tablespoons. Use the olive oil/flour mixture to thicken the sauce (you’ll want to bring the heat to just under a boil and stir frequently), then add the sauce to the the roasting pan along with as many peppers as you like, and mix everything thoroughly to coat. I prefer to keep the peperoncini whole (they provide burst of acidity when you bite into them), and chop the cherry peppers.

• Bake, uncovered for 40-45 minutes. Serve with bread to sop up the sauce, and a crisp white wine.

Leftovers keep and reheat well!

Fun to Try

• The base recipe is a great way to try new flavors. Keep the potatoes, chicken, sweet peppers, garlic, and onion from the recipe above but try subbing in:
Tangier for the Pierre. No sausage. Use pearl onions and add green grapes. Add pine nuts, raisins and salt packed capers to the sauce and use pomegranate molasses and red wine vinegar for the brine.
Sheba for the Pierre. Substitute lamb merguez for the Italian sausage. Add whole olives and chopped preserved lemon to the sauce and use cider vinegar for the brine.
Chios for the Pierre. No sausage. Double the mushrooms and use green peppers. Add chopped fresh lemon and pistachios to the sauce and use lemon juice and white wine vinegar for the brine.

• Leftovers are great for breakfast if you debone the chicken, chop everything coarsely, then heat in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and scramble a few eggs in.

• This recipe is a good base for a soup. Omit the flour and instead of putting everything into a casserole place them in a large soup pot. Don’t pre-cook the potatoes. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with your favorite spice. Follow every other step until you strain the stock into your frying pan. Don’t reduce it, and add it the pot along with 1 cup of white rice and water sufficient to cover the ingredients. Bring to just below a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until everything is tender. If you prefer a thicker soup, try thickening with beaten egg yolk and lemon.

Past March Recipes

2019 – Cajun Kraut Cakes

2018 – Chocolate Avocado Pudding

2017 – Radish and Kale Salad


Food images and recipe © Christian Leue

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