Saucy Chicken Puttanesca

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The famous Neapolitan tomato sauce—packed with olives, garlic, capers, and anchovies—is traditionally paired with long pasta. In our version, chicken legs are gently oven-braised in the puttanesca until it’s nearly falling off the bone. It’s a low-maintenance, one-skillet dish that is easy to pull off on a weeknight.

Saucy Chicken Puttanesca

Saucy Chicken Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks or whole legs
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. double-concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, crushed, pits removed
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. drained capers
  • 2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
  • 3 2″ strips lemon peel, plus lemon wedges for serving

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, then season all over with salt.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until it has rendered some of its fat and skin is golden brown all over, 7–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. You’ll have a pool of fat left in the pan. Spoon out all but 3 Tbsp. fat from pan. (Use it for roasted potatoes, in cooked bitter greens, or add to stewy beans.)
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and anchovies to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is softened and anchovies have disintegrated, 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, then stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato paste begins to split and stick to pan, about 3 minutes. Add olives, wine, capers, bay leaves (if using), and lemon peel and bring to a simmer (still over medium heat). Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has evaporated, 5–7 minutes.
  4. Snuggle chicken (skin side up) into sauce in a single layer. Pour in 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Transfer skillet to oven and bake, uncovered, until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes (if using whole legs, it’ll take closer to 30–35 minutes). Taste a spoonful of the sauce—it should be plenty salty between the anchovies and capers, so you most likely won’t need to season with more salt.
  5. Transfer chicken to a platter and spoon sauce over. Drizzle with oil and serve with lemon wedges alongside.

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Saucy Chicken Puttanesca

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