If you have ever been to Mosca’s on U.S. 90, just out of New Orleans, you will know why garlicky dishes spark a craving. Step inside the family-owned restaurant, housed in a nondescript white building on a lonely stretch of highway, and the first thing you smell is simmering garlic.
Inside, the walls are lined with Mosca family photos, and the tables are laden with platters of Italian favorites, such as spaghetti and meatballs and chicken cacciatore, as well as house specialties like Oysters Mosca and Shrimp Mosca.
The restaurant features a few recipes on its website, but this one for Mary Jo Mosca’s version of Chicken a la Grande is adapted from Kit Wohl’s “New Orleans Classic Celebrations.”
This dish is quick and easy to prepare in one skillet, but it fills your kitchen with deliciously pungent smells and delivers big flavor.
Chicken pieces are doused in white wine, generously seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-fried in olive oil until golden brown. Then, in go 10 cloves of smashed garlic and two tablespoons each of dried rosemary and oregano. The whole thing is covered and simmered until the chicken is tender. That is it.
So simple. So sublime.
Make a side dish of crisp-tender green beans to go with it. If you are in a hurry, make the beans in a separate skillet while the chicken is browning, as directed below.
If you have time, finish the chicken, remove the pieces and almost all the spicy oil and keep it warm. Then, cook your green beans in that same seasoned skillet for a one-skillet supper of more flavorful beans and easier cleanup.
MOSCA’S CHICKEN A LA GRANDE
Total time: 50 minutes
Any mix of chicken pieces works for this recipe. You can buy a 3-pound chicken and cut it up, but if the chicken breasts are large, cut them in half to ensure even cooking.
You can substitute lemon juice for the apple cider vinegar, and other herbs, such as thyme, would work in place of the oregano or rosemary.
FOR THE CHICKEN
½ cup white wine, such as chardonnay or fume blanc
3 pounds chicken pieces (about 8 pieces), dark and light meat
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded to near paste or grated
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano, or 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
FOR THE BEANS
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound green beans, defrosted if frozen
¼ cup water or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Make the chicken: In a large bowl, add the wine and then the chicken, turning to moisten each piece. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, reserving the wine, and generously season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning the pieces as needed, until generously browned, about 25 minutes. If chicken is getting too brown, lower the heat to medium.
Once the chicken is browned, remove skillet from heat and add the garlic, rosemary and oregano and reserved wine to the skillet, and stir to evenly coat the chicken pieces.
Return to low heat, cover and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.
Make the green beans: While chicken is browning, in another large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the green beans and cook, stirring often, until browned in spots, about five minutes.
Add the water or broth, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender about three minutes. Push the beans to the side of the skillet. Add the remaining one teaspoon oil and the garlic and cook, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir the garlic into the beans. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
If not serving green beans right away, transfer them from the hot skillet to a platter to stop the cooking. Cover lightly and keep warm until serving.
Transfer the chicken, with its pan juices, to a platter and serve warm.