The Original Chicken Arthur Avenue
Chicken Arthur Avenue is authentic Italian cuisine, attainable in the home kitchen. Yes, even if you are NOT a cook…
This recipe is in tribute to the late great chef, Richard Hanson.
Chicken Arthur Avenue is one of those comforting dishes that once you master, it will NEVER leave your recipe arsenal. I could never have imagined that the first time I tasted this dish, that I would some 30 years later, be sharing it as a tribute to the now late chef who first prepared it for me.
I consider Chicken Arthur Avenue to be among my top three recipes on this blog. It is a recipe that I embark on with a glass of wine in hand, and some Jazz on in the background. You won’t just cook this meal, you’ll have fun doing it. If you have a significant other, and find cooking together enjoyable, PICK THIS RECIPE. Trust me on this…
New York was an every other weekend destination for my family when David and I were growing up. Mainly, we’d end up in Chinatown at what was then the Hunan Garden Restaurant, at the corners of Mott and Canal Streets. It was Ed Koch’s favorite haunt. We knew it was phenomenal before we ever tried it. It was easier days back then.
A simple drive through the Holland Tunnel and a quick swing into One Police Plaza to park the car was breezy and doable. The first Trade Center bombing in 1993 changed those easier days. For starters, they closed the convenient parking at One Police Plaza. In my opinion, this cut Chinatown and Little Italy off from the one-off day trippers like my family.
Chicken Arthur Avenue is named for the main street in Bronx’s Little Italy where owner and chef Richard Hanson’s mother Cleonice grew up. It has all the classic Italian flavors of a rich Chicken Marsala.
Through the years, there were MANY other destinations in the City and up into the New England states my parents mapped. Vacation time was prime time for testing recommended locations. My parents would oftentimes hear about these recommended places from their friends.
A Jewish couple my parents pal around with are a great resource. They introduce Mom and Dad to many of the more local hole-in-the-wall jewels we know. They are also the reason we know about an Italian hot spot in Maine called Cleonice.
I found an article several years ago when I was searching online to see if the place was still there. Sadly, I learned through this article that it was not. To my surprise, the article was written by the former owner and chef. It included the recipe for my all time favorite dish from their menu. Chicken Arthur Avenue.
Easily scale Chicken Arthur Avenue up to feed a crowd. It is also delicious with boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts.
Chef Richard Hanson’s mother Cleonice grew up on Arthur Avenue, the main street in Bronx’s Little Italy. Chicken Arthur Avenue reflects the name of her street. This incredibly complex dish has all the hallmarks of a rich Chicken Marsala. Funny enough, it is NOT complex to prepare. It’s decidedly a comfort food. I like it best with mashed potatoes or a sturdy pasta. It’s rich with Marsala and mushroom gravy, and there is no getting around that it tastes like home.
This dish is a traditional sauté. The resulting pan sauce’s flavor is built up in luscious, buttery layers. It’s a dish to take your time with, a labor of love. The key to this recipe’s success is to use a homemade chicken stock to build the gravy. If you make your own stock, now is the time to pull it from the freezer. The body that comes from a homemade stock will properly layer this dish. At the very least, purchase a superior store stock.
This recipe stands up. A robust red wine is easily paired with this dish which enhances the experience.
I easily and oftentimes scale Chicken Arthur Avenue up to feed a crowd. It is also delicious with chicken thighs instead of breasts. At the restaurant, owners and chef’s Rich and Cary Hanson used a Statler breast. A Statler breast is a term for a boneless chicken breast with the drumette attached. This gives the gravy a little more flavor and you get a little dark meat along with your white meat. While I always recommend pounding chicken, try to leave some of the plumpness in these, maybe only pounding to 3/4″ to an inch.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Chicken Arthur Avenue
Ingredient for Chicken Arthur Avenue
- 1 tablespoon olive oil quality; I am using Thea
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 Statler breasts may substitute 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 3/4 inch thickness
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly cracked
- 1 cup Pancetta small dice; may substitute Proscuitto, cut into thin long strips
- 2 shallots rough chopped
- 2 cup2 Crimini mushrooms sliced
- 6 ounces Marsala wine
- 6 ounces homemade chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- Herbes de Provence generous pinch
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
for the chicken
- In a shallow bowl combine flour and salt and pepper. Dredge your chicken breasts to coat all sides. This flour is what thickens your gravy. If you omit it you'll have a thinner sauce. I find doing this in a plastic bag eliminates additional dishes to clean and cuts my time down.
- Heat a saute pan then add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. When the pan is sizzling hot, add your dredged chicken breasts skin side down. Add pancetta to the pan between the chicken breasts to render. Allow to cook together for about 5 minutes.
- Once the chicken is nicely browned, flip the breasts over. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, making sure to keep moving the Pancetta around in the pan to prevent burning.
- Remove chicken from the hot pan to a warmed plate and cover with aluminum foil. Set aside, but keep warm.
building the sauce
- Add the shallots to the pan with the Pancetta and saute until they start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your mushrooms to the pan and stir them into the Pancetta and shallots. Saute the mushrooms for a minute or two until mostly cooked, about 6 to 8 minutes, then add the Marsala to deglaze. Use the back of a spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of your pan. This is the fondt and you want this.
- Add your chicken stock and incorporate it into the gravy that you are making.
- When your gravy comes to a vigorous simmer, add your chopped herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes.
marrying the components
- Return the chicken and any juices back to the pan and reduce the heat. Cover the pan.
- Cook for 8 to 10 minutes covered.
- Check your chicken at the thickest part of the breast for doneness. You should see no pink. If you see pink, replace the cover and allow to cook a for another minute or two. Should your sauce or gravy become too reduced while cooking the chicken, add a little more stock. If your sauce is too loose and your chicken is done continue to cook uncovered, allowing it to reduce to the consistency of maple syrup.
- Mount your sauce with the two remaining tablespoons of butter and allow to melt, whisking the butter into your sauce gently.
this sounds absolutley delicious, great for leftovers probably! thanks for giving the different twists so I can try a different one each time! 🙂
Alisha, please let me know if you try this – would love to know how you liked it!