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Tough chicken in Chicken Scarpiello

I think I may be chicken cursed, but after having this dish at Rao's (the one in Vegas, not lucky enough for the real one in NY), I have tried to make it several times using the recipe it their cook book.

The sauce, sausage, etc are all great, but the chicken is tough or rubbery. I keep thinking that I am over cooking it, but this time I took it out when it registered 150 or so. (The first time I measured 160)

In general, you are supposed to keep the chicken in the whole time, and cook it with the onions, peppers, wine, etc and then basically plate, no resting.

Watching Anne Burrell make this, it seems like she cooked it way beyond that point simmering it in the liquid for 15 or so minutes after browing it heavily.

So in general, I am confused.

A) I was thinking cutting the chicken into smaller peices may help, or finding a smaller bird, even though that seems to be getting harder.
B) This time I started with a bit hotter pan/oil. Is it better to cook smaller peices of chicken (whole bird cut up into about 12 peices) hot and fast, or low and longer?
C) Or is the point of this dish to almost over cook the meat long enough that it just starts to break down like a pot roast.


Apr 06, 2012
ryanlm in Home Cooking

Trying to make Rao's marinara sauce, close but seem to be missing something.

Now that you mention it, my sauce does not seem to be as oily as theirs. I was trying to stick as close to the recipe, but going on looks I think they must use more. Ok, that is first on my list to try :)

As for the acidity, I will try that too. I have heard of people also just adding a whole carrot to the sauce to absorb the acid and taking it out at the end - anyone know if that works?

Apr 06, 2012
ryanlm in Home Cooking

Trying to make Rao's marinara sauce, close but seem to be missing something.

This should be easy as it’s just a handful of ingredients, but, I can't seem to get close to what comes out of the jar. Well, it's kind of close, but it's missing something. I believe the jarred stuff you buy is purely vegetarian, no salt pork is used to make it (optional in the recipe). However, it has what I can only describe as a meaty taste or mouth feel that mine does not. In general it is just richer in flavor. Mine does seem to be sharper, or I guess acidic. I can eat the stuff right out of the jar with a spoon and be happy, where mine falls short of that.

Heck, I have even mail ordered their tomatoes and olive oil just to be sure it wasn't an ingredient thing, and I really didn’t get any different results (as expected).

First, I was wondering if I am cooking at too high of a temp. I have a Wolf range, and I usually let it cook on the low setting, even though there is a simmer. If I put it on simmer, it doesn’t seem to bubble at all, which I in my head sound wrong, but maybe I am simmering away the flavor.

The recipe, and the demos I have seen of it, has you separate the flesh from the juices, and add them in one at a time (flesh first, then the juices). I am wondering if you are supposed to roast the flesh for a bit before adding in the rest of the liquid.

I am really guessing here. Any input would be wonderful on how to make a marinara sauce that matches the richness of Rao’s.

Apr 06, 2012
ryanlm in Home Cooking

Do you roast with or without water in the roasting pan?

I am about to make a 4 pound top sirlion roast, and some of the recipes I have seen do not mention water at all. Which got me thinking, is it normal to put water in a roasting pan? So, I started looking, specifically for chicken and beef, it seems to be 50/50 on adding water or not. Some say add a cup or two, other just a half a cup to stop some splattering, other just say none is the best to prevent steaming.

A) How much of a difference does water really make when roasting beef or some sort of bird?
B) If you do not use water or stock, wouldn't a lot of fond get maybe overly burnt or stuck to the pan?
C) Can you still get a good pan sauce/gravy without water?

Thanks for any suggestions! I have been lurking on these boards for a while, this is my first post :)


Apr 06, 2012
ryanlm in Home Cooking