Pollo alla cacciatora recipe by Joe Trivelli

<span>Pollo alla cacciatore.</span><span>Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer</span>
Pollo alla cacciatore.Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

An Italian classic, this can be heaped on a bed of marigold-yellow polenta – an opportunity for more lashings of butter. It would also work well with greens and bread on the table to mop up the juices.

Serves 4
chicken 1, small (roughly 1kg)
butter 90g
celery with leaves 3 sticks
leek 1, large
garlic 2 cloves
green olives 12
rosemary 3 sprigs
bay 4 leaves
passata 200ml
white wine 250ml
salt and black pepper

Using a good knife or scissors, cut the backbone out of the chicken. Turn it upside down and cut the chicken in two between the breasts. Remove the wings and thighs and separate them from the drumsticks. Cut each breast in two. (Alternatively, ask your butcher to joint the chicken for you.) Season with salt and black pepper.

Melt the butter over a medium-high heat in a wide, lidded pan. When it is foaming, add the chicken, skin-side down. Fry, gently crackling, for 8 minutes, turning from time to time until golden brown. While this is happening, chop the celery and leek into 2cm pieces. Peel and then add the garlic with the olives into the crackling butter in a space between the chicken. Fry for a further minute or two.

Add the herbs and vegetables and mix them through – the butter will quieten down at this point. After 3 minutes, add the wet ingredients, incorporate and cover. Cook over a medium-low heat for 35 minutes, turning and basting halfway through.

Joe Trivelli is co-head chef at The River Cafe, London W6