This is a Sicilian Christmas classic from the doyenne of Sicilian food writers, Mary Taylor Simetti, although as she points out, it ‘has as many versions as there are families to observe the tradition’.
- A 4-pound chicken in parts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups (approximately) chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large round loaf of crusty Italian bread
- ⅛ cup toasted almonds
- ⅛ cup pistachios
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Juice of 1 lemon
Brown the chicken in the oil, add one cup broth, salt and pepper and simmer until tender, adding more broth if needed. Cool the chicken, remove the skin and bones and cut the meat into small pieces. Reserve both the meat and the broth. Cut the bread horizontally, and a little less than halfway down, so as to make a dish and lid. Hollow out the bread, combine the crumbs and the reserved broth and press through a sieve. Grind the almonds and pistachios, together with the capers and parsley. Add the bread purée together with the eggs and lemon juice. The mixture should be quite moist, so you may need to add an extra tablespoon or two of the broth. Combine with the chicken meat, spoon into the empty bread crust and replace the upper crust. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F/175°C/Gas 4.
From Sicilian Food by Mary Taylor Simetti