Italian Stewed Chicken

Source:  Nonni Joanne ca. 1980’s

Italian stewed chicken

Italian Stewed Chicken

A wonderful, traditional peasant style, Italian dish. I can remember this dish dating back to my child-hood. From my Nonna’s cottage in Anaheim California, to my mom’s kitchen in San Jose, California. It’s a smell that just brings me home, a smell with fresh garden herbs paired with the under aroma of a slow cooking chicken. This dish provides many possibilities as a pairing. You can serve it with rice, spaghetti, polenta, steamed or roasted potatoes, or with a brilliant risotto.

As a child, this was our weekend meal, which was probably the only time we’d sit down to dinner as a family. As I always say, the success of this dish has everything to do with your brilliant tomato sauce. Once finished, this dish shows deep hues of red, and accumulates wonderful flavors released and melded from the stewing of the chicken. It’s simply delicious, warm and satisfying! In fact, you might want to make more sauce than normal, as I find one ‘batch’ of sauce is barely enough as my picture shows.

So remember, as the title states it’s a stewed chicken dish. The whole point of stewing a chicken is to achieve meat so tender, it just pulls away from the bone. Cook this meal with the chicken skin on or off. Naturally, with the skin on, more flavor is present-but with out the skin, it’s probably a bit healthier. Serve this dish up with plenty of sliced sourdough, ciabiatta, or french bread! Don’t forget, this dish also makes great left-over’s for tomorrow’s meal…a chicken salad, a chicken soup, or a side dish in itself. I highly recommend this dish.

Stewed Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Flavor it up with Italian herbs, let it stew and be proud to serve this very Italian dish. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Meats
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 4 to 6 lb chicken cut up into parts
  • 2 to 4 cups tomato sauce home made
  • 1 pinch Italian herbs generous pinch
  • 1/4 cup red wine for the sauce
  • 2-4 TBS parmigiano reggiano cheese to garnish
  • 4 TBS olive oil to brown the chicken


  • Begin with a nice size whole chicken. You are going to cut your chicken up in to about 6-8 pieces. If you do not know how to cut a chicken, watch a quick YouTube video on how to do so. It’s a very essential thing to learn in cooking.
    Once chicken is cut up (bones in, skin on), sauté in a stock pot (same pot which you will cook your tomato sauce in) until golden brown on both sides. The term is also called braising, but this is a method which will lock in flavor, and begin to prompt the cooking process in meats.
  • Once chicken is nice and golden brown on both sides (maybe 10 min. each side), remove chicken and place on a plate aside.
  • Begin to make your tomato sauce. You can keep it simple by adding an onion and garlic to the oils just cooked by the chicken. Then add your paste, and (fresh) 2 cans of tomatoes, wine and seasons, cook for about 15 min.. Once you like what you see, add the chicken parts back to the pot. Bring to a med/high cooking point, then simmer and cover for about 1-2 hrs. The longer, the better. Your chicken will be so soft and moist, that it will almost just fall apart.
  • Decide what you will accompany it with (polenta, risotto, pasta), cook this dish and then pour pasta, or polenta, etc. into a platter, then scoop the rich hearty sauce over, meat and all.