When I first read through this recipe I thought, "Oh, it is a recipe for fancy sausage and peppers with chicken instead of sausage." Of course because this is a French recipe the flavors are more complex than a simple sausage and peppers meal.
After my 9-11 fiasco I wasn't up to driving around in search of pimento d' Espelette. It does sound like an extraordinary pepper that if I come across it in a gourmet shop I will buy it, but Dorie gave me an out, and I naturally take the easiest course when it comes to cooking,... I went with chili powder.
My kids told me that if I really had my act together I should have ordered pimento d' Espelette on the internet, of course they were not taking into account that I didn't have much time to think about French Fridays because they were off from school, because of the Jewish New Year, and I needed to entertain them over the last week.
Before I went grocery shopping I read through the recipe three times and figured out how I would simplify it. I immediately nixed peeling tomatoes in favor of buying a can of diced tomatoes. I used a 28 oz size can (the equivalent of 10 to 12 tomatoes) which made the dish more stew like than I think it was supposed to be, being Italian, I like having some sauce to dip my bread into. I also decided not to peel the peppers.
I find the French obsession with skinning vegetables very odd and time consuming. Culturally they seem to have some strange texture issues?
The peppers were fine au natural. Even with these short cuts it still took an hour to sauté all of the vegetables, fry the chicken, and make the wine reduction.
The result was a wonderfully warming stew of peppers, mild chilies, onions and melt in your mouth chicken. Everyone in my family loved it except my daughter who found it too spicy, but she's 10... it was a little hot for a 10 year old.
I served it over brown rice which everyone reminded me harbors arsenic... I hadn't read the paper before I made dinner...oh well, a little bit of arsenic never killed anyone?
Needless to say the Ciabatta rolls I bought were much more popular than the rice, and actually worked better for sopping up the rich wine tomato sauce, a great meal for a chilly autumn night.
This is a similar recipe: