Recently www.nj.com did a ranking of the best Italian food in the state. There was an array of pasta dishes, seafood, assorted meat entrees and the number one dish was “Stretch’s Chicken Savoy” from the Belmont Tavern on Bloomfield Avenue,. in the Silver Lake section of Belleville, adjacent to Newark’s North Ward. The Belmont Tavern has been around since 1967.
Back in 2008, Saveur Magazine visited the Belmont Tavern and tried unsuccessfully to procure the recipe from the staff and owner, who could blame them. Undeterred, the magazine came up their version, which they feel is very close to the original. Back in the day, my single aunt was known to frequent a “gin mill” or two on Bloomfield Avenue; she may have even known Stretch and Annette. I do remember my late aunt making this once for us and what sticks in my mind is the red wine vinegar that is used towards the end of cooking. It’s unfortunate she didn’t write this recipe down, perhaps because it uses such few ingredients it wasn’t necessary.
I made this recipe using bone-in chicken breasts and my husband loved it. I guess I’ll have to put into a monthly rotation.
Stretch’s Chicken Savoy
Saveur Magazine, October 9, 2008
Yield: 2-4 people
1 (3–4-lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 cloves garlic
1⁄3 cup finely grated pecorino
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.