Pollo alla Diavola

I was reading my boss’s Men’s Health magazine at work and came across this recipe which seemed fast, healthy, and tasty. I copied it and decided to try it out during the week, because the preparation and cooking time are not too daunting to necessitate a weekend. Traditional Pollo alla Diavola, or the “devil’s-style chicken,” is intensely flavored with fiery spices, although this version is considerably toned down.  The sauce for the chicken is either inspired by or directly from the one used by Maialinos chef Nick Anderer.

Make this into a legitimate Italian meal by serving the Pollo alla Diavola with a side of  Sautéed Broccoli Rabe.  Also known as rapini, this leafty, bitter green is a vegetable commonly found in Southern Italian cuisines.

Pollo alla Diavola (courtesy of Men’s Health)

Yields: 4-6 servings


    • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • Red-pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs), butterflied (ask the butcher to do this  or use four leg quarters)
  • 1 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C pickling liquid from jarred hot cherry peppers, plus will use peppers for serving
  • 2 T tomato sauce or puree


The day before you cook the chicken, combine the oil, salt, thyme, pepper, and red-pepper flakes in a wide baking dish.

Add the chicken, turning it to coat it evenly, and then cover and refrigerate it overnight.

Half an hour before you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof pan in the oven until it’s medium hot, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the chicken, skin side down. Then add another cast-iron skillet on top of the bird to weigh it down.

Place the chicken in the oven to roast until it’s golden brown and juices run clear when it’s pierced in the hip joint, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest, leaving the juices in the pan.

To make the sauce, place the pan on medium-low heat and whisk in the broth, pickling liquid, and tomato sauce, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid is slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into quarters and serve each with the pan sauce and a cherry pepper.


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