Chicken Peperonata Cooking show

Chicken Peperonata

Talk about celebrity crush, here is mine: Giada De Laurentiis. I’m not sure if “crush” is the proper word, but you get what I mean. Not only I’m one of the millions of fans of her shows on Food Network, I’ve been using her cookbooks since Every Day Italian came out.

This recipe is adapted from Giada’s Italy, another book featuring many Italian inspired recipes great for the home-cook. In the book, she titled the recipe Crispy Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Capers.  She tells the story of her great-aunt Raffy, “who makes the most delicious peperonata” and inspired her to create this recipe. I thought it’s easier to just call it Chicken Peperonata.

Many food aristocrats consider chicken boring. Not me. I love chicken, and this recipe is Italian chicken glory! While white breast meat is 99 percent white fiber muscle and very healthy, dark meat carries more oxygen and myoglobin, which is the reason for the darker color, but it also carries more fat (but not that much) which is the reason it tastes better.

Like Giada, I like to make this recipe with chicken thighs, but if you prefer to use chicken breast, it will be just as wonderful. If you want to be even more productive and buy an entire chicken, go for it, and use every part. Save the bones for brodo and use all other parts of the chicken for this recipe.

Magic in the world of food often relies on the ingredients you have, so be sure to carefully choose nice kalamata olives (over canned), fresh bell peppers and capers in brine. The result is as incredible as any Italian restaurant can provide.

Another bonus of this recipe: it’s year-round-evergreen. When you close your eyes and imagine a table full of friends and family, picture this Chicken Peperonata in the middle of the table. It’s pure cooking, captivating your family with the power of cooking—and the recipes that you find right here at Chef Leticia.


Chicken Peperonata

Adapted from Giada’s Italy

Serves 4


¼ cup olive oil

4 chicken thighs (about 2 lbs)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 anchovy fillet or ½ teaspoon anchovy paste

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into thin strips

1 shallot, diced small

½ cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup dry bread-crumbs

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Dry the chicken very well with paper towels and season evenly on both sides with ¾ of teaspoon of kosher salt.  Place the thighs in the hot pan, skin-side down, and cook without moving for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the thighs and cook an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the thighs to a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F.

While the chicken roasts, place the same pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the anchovy and mash it with the back of a wooden spoon until it dissolves into the oil. Add the bell pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt to the pan and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes, until cooked through and soft. Stir in the shallots and cook an additional minute. Add the olives, capers, and oregano to the pan and stir to combine.

Sprinkle the bread-crumbs over the pepper mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the bread crumbs have soaked up all the flavored oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread-crumbs are toasted and the flavors have married, about another 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Spook the bread-crumb mixture onto a platter. Top with the chicken thighs and drizzle with any accumulated juices from the baking sheet.


More Chicken and Italian Recipes:

Chicken With Mushroom Sauce

Veal Scaloppine

Melon with Prosciutto Di Parma

Penne A la Vodka


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Duck Stir Fry

Duck Stir Fry

Duck Stir Fry

Duck Stir Fry

Serves 4

During these quarantine cooking days, whatever is available in the market and is on sale, is what we buy. As I mentioned in the Quarantine Cooking Club video on You Tube, my husband went to Costco and found a package of pre-cooked duck for sale. Knowing of our daughter’s love for game meats, he bought and said, “I’m sure you’ll find something interesting to do with it”. Duck Stir Fry! Hello! The package from Maple Leaf contains one half duck, roasted weighting net 28oz (1 lb + 12oz). It also comes with an orange sauce, which I didn’t use at all. By the time I pulled the meat, it yields about 2 cups pulled duck meat. We love “stretching” the duck by making this rice stir fry. It serve 4 generous portions, something we need these days!



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely minced

2 stalks celery, peeled and finely minced

1 carrot, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups cooked brown rice

2 cups pulled duck meat

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro



Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the onion, celery and carrot all together. Season with salt and pepper, cumin and oregano. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the rice, duck, soy sauce and herbs and mix everything together, stirring occasionally until it all belongs together. You can add about ¼ cup water to moisten the dish. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


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Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

Chicken With Mushroom Sauce

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients collide. People get crazy. Cooking and recipes become kaleidoscopic matter in my kitchen. And then, BOOM! The unexpected wins out. A recipe that is more than fantastic, it’s a classic. To be added to any cooking school curriculum. After days spent hunkering up and down the pages of Ina Garden’s cookbook collection (I have so many of them! Love Ina!) consider this recipe for Chicken with Mushroom Sauce your caterpillar-butterfly moment, a dish brimming with fresh ingredients, fall flavors, and conversation invitations over dinner. When cooking is this epicurious, why do we need to wake up?

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

Serves 6


1 chicken (3½ lbs), cut into eights

All purpose-flour

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves

1 ½ lbs wild mushrooms (such as shitake, chanterelle, oyster, etc)

8 sprigs thyme

¼ cup sherry

2 cups white wine

2 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place ½ cup flour in a bowl and dredge the chicken in flour. In a large ovenproof (12-inches) pot such as Le Creuset or any other large pot, heat the oil. Add the chicken in tree batches (don’t crowd the pan) and brown them lightly over medium high heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue until all the chicken is browned.

All the whole garlics, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot and cover over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the brown bits. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken (large pieces first), cover, and place in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (about 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove the chicken to a bowl and discard the thyme. With a fork, mash together the butter and ¼ cup flour and add it to the sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat, for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season to taste (it should be highly seasoned), put the chicken back in the sauce, and serve hot.


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Countdown to the Rio Olympics!

Countdown to the Rio Olympics!

Xim Xim de Galinha

Chicken, Shrimp, Peanut and Cashew Stew

XimXim de Galinha
XimXim de Galinha

 Here is a dish prepared with ordinary ingredients and extraordinary results. The sauce is creamy from a mixture of ground nuts and coconut milk. You can prepare this recipe ahead of time as it re-heats very well, just make sure you hold the shrimp and cook them just before serving.


Xim Xim de Galinha

Chicken, Shrimp, Peanut and Cashew Stew

Serves 6 to 8


1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces with the skin on

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 20 shrimp

4 tablespoons palm oil

½ cup unsalted peanuts, roasted

½ cup unsalted cashews, roasted

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup

2 scallions (white and green parts), chopped, about ¼ cup

4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced, about 1 ½ cups

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 ½ cups coconut milk

1 ½ cups chicken stock

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1/8  teaspoon paprika

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro


  1. Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl and add the garlic and lime juice. Massage the chicken, making sure the juice is well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In another bowl, place the shrimp and 2 tablespoons of the palm oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. (If you are making the dish ahead of time, save the shrimp and marinade).
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, grind the cashews and peanuts until they are finely ground, being careful that they do not release oil and become a paste like peanut butter. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any remaining garlic. Lightly pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  5. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan, and cook the chicken pieces over medium heat, until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure you do not crowd the pan to prevent sticking. If necessary, do it in batches and as you remove the chicken pieces, place them on a plate and cover them with foil or a lid to keep them warm and moist. You don’t want to cook the chicken entirely while browning. It will finish cooking while braising in the sauce.
  6. Add the remaining olive oil and cook the onion and scallions, stirring occasionally and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, until the onions are soft and tender, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and ground nuts and stir to blend well, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, turmeric, and paprika, and let the sauce come to a simmer.
  9. Lower the heat to its lowest setting, then add the chicken pieces and all the juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through; it should remain tender and moist, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Reserve the stew at this point if you want to serve it at a later date. Store it in a plastic container covered with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
  10. Meanwhile, remove the shrimp from the bowl and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  11. In a medium sized skillet, heat the remaining palm oil and cook the shrimp just until they start to turn orange, about 1 minute per side.
  12. Pour the shrimp and any remaining palm oil from the pan, right into the chicken stew, cover, and cook so the shrimp has a chance to braise with the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. At this point the mixture should look orange-red and the nuts will have thickened the stew but also made it slightly gritty. You want it to be just a little pasty from the nuts. If the stew is too thick, add another tablespoon or so of chicken stock.
  13. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with the cilantro.