Chicken Syracuse Recipe for St. Sebastian's Feast

Chicken Syracuse Recipe for St. Sebastian's Feast

In Syracuse the feast of St. Sebastian is celebrated on January 20th with fireworks, festivities, and of course good food. This chicken dish takes advantage of the flavors of Sicily.

Chicken Syracuse Recipe for St. Sebastian's Feast


  • 4 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano (1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup orange juice (my preference is for blood orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground


  1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, rosemary, oregano, and nutmeg. Cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet heat the 2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken.
  3. When the chicken is browned on all sides, add the chopped onion, garlic, orange juice, black pepper, and wine. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large baking dish pour the extra-virgin olive oil.
  5. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the dish.
  6. Pour the sauce from the skillet over the chicken.
  7. Place in the oven and bake at 375F for 1 1/4 hours. Baste the chicken with the pan juices from time to time.
  8. When cooked, plate the chicken and pour the sauce over the chicken pieces.

Note: You may be wondering about a Sicilian dish that doesn't call for tomatoes. Over 2,300 years ago the chef Archestrato, warned that sauces shouldn't be too rich. He preferred making sauces from the food’s own juices with fresh herbs chopped and mixed with good olive oil, salt, and sesame seeds.

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