Everybody in Upstate New York has their own variation of this dish. It is hometown comfort food celebrated annually at the “Utica Riggiefest.” The bulk of the work is in prepping the ingredients. You want to get your chicken, mushrooms, green pepper, cherry peppers, onion, and parsley ready to go ahead of time and measure out your chicken stock, tomato sauce and cream. If you prep well, cooking this dish is easy.
The real character of “Riggies” lies in the sauce and let’s be honest, any sauce that starts out with butter has got to be good. Simmering the chicken in the butter and layering on the flavors from the vegetables forms the base of the sauce. The chicken stock, tomato sauce, cream, and paprika give the sauce body and its beautiful color. The black olives that finish the dish add even more texture and color as well as a bit of saltiness.
“Riggies” can be made with chicken or shrimp and there are many vodka variations out there as well. This warm, hearty dish makes Central New York winters bearable but can be enjoyed year-round. Give it a try, put your own spin on it and enjoy!