There is no doubt this dish was born in Belleville, NJ! I love the combination of the spices and herbs, and then, the vinegar! I can’t tell you how much I love cooking with vinegar. When done right, it’s just the best.
I happen to know the original recipe (I know, I know, everyone says this). However, you are not going to find the original recipe here so sorry to disappoint. But what you are going to get is my version, which I happen to like better. No disrespect to Stretch’s creation, because without him, I would be clueless and never would have come up with my own version. God bless the man who came up with this wonderful concept of cooking a whole chicken quickly with extreme heat in such a simple but beautiful marinade! I would consider this a peasant dish of sorts.
So here’s how I do mine . . .
Right off the bat, I don’t even bother with the breasts or the wings. It’s beefy thighs and drumsticks only, with the bone, and skin on. Why? Because in my opinion, these are the most succulent and flavorful parts of the bird. And, the skin tends to be thicker creating a “bacon-like” effect when roasting in the oven at 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, these parts of the chicken do the best under Stretch’s cooking method. Drumsticks and thighs are very forgiving and tend not to dry out.
Place your thighs and drumsticks in a large mixing bowl. In this order, season with kosher salt, fresh black pepper, Spanish paprika, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, fresh minced garlic, and dried oregano. Toss the chicken parts mixing the ingredients in evenly. Gently massage the ingredients into each and every piece.
At this point, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. Gently toss until a paste forms over all the chicken parts. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the fridge.
When cooking it off the next day, take your chicken out of the fridge and let it sit for about an hour so we don’t put it in the oven ice cold. One ½ hour before roasting place a large cast-iron pan (or two) in your oven and preheat to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Some domestic ovens only go up to 500. That’s fine, you may just have to extend the cooking time by 10 minutes.
Drizzle just a little more oil on your chicken, toss and drop it into those piping hot cast iron pans. Make sure the side with the most skin is facing up. I like to put it on the top shelf to avoid burning the bottoms and getting a perfect crispy top. If you have a convection oven use the fan the whole time. If you don’t, at the end you may want to hit it with the broiler for just a few minutes to crisp things up a bit. Close the door, set your timer to 20 minutes, and forget about them. Within just a few minutes your kitchen will smell wonderful!
*Note: When placing the chicken in the cast iron leave space in between for even roasting and most importantly a bare space to pour the vinegar. We are looking to pour the vinegar directly onto the cast iron. This changes the characteristic of the vinegar and deglazes the pan. When using cast iron do not scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. When plating, just let the juice run off and let whatever sticks to the pan stay behind.
* Another note about vinegar: I keep seeing balsamic vinegar being used with recipes online as if that’s the classic way to make this dish. If you want to use balsamic that’s great, but balsamic is not traditionally used. When the red wine vinegar hit’s the piping hot cast-iron it browns and sweetens giving the impression of balsamic. I like changing things up a bit using white vinegar. It gives the dish a brighter look with a more mellowed-out and savory taste.
OK so back on track..lol. After 20 minutes, carefully pull your oven rack out a bit and hit the pan with the red wine (or white) vinegar. Be sure to get as much as you can hitting the bottom of the pan and get some on the tops of the chicken parts as well. Close the door and cook for another ten minutes. After 10 minutes, shut off the oven and leave the chicken in there for another 10 minutes.
After sitting in the “off” oven for 10 minutes. Take out the chicken and plate in your favorite platter. Spoon all the residual sauce in the bottom of the pan over your chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for visiting!
5 large drumsticks
5 large thighs
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of finely minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoon of dried oregano
1 ½ tablespoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cup of red wine vinegar or white vinegar