» Chicken San Gennaro for the Feast of St. Januarius • Cooking with Catholic Kids

Chicken San Gennaro for the Feast of St. Januarius • Cooking with Catholic Kids


Celebrate the feast of St. Januarius Sept. 19 with a classic Italian sandwich.


by Ryan Langr 


St. Januarius was an early fourth-century martyr and bishop of Naples, Italy. He is perhaps most famous because at least three times a year, his dried blood miraculously liquefies. Though very little about his life is confirmed, his legend speaks of a dedicated bishop who protected his people from persecution at the cost of his own life. 

He is celebrated every year around cities with large concentrations of Italians, and especially in Naples, where massive crowds gather to watch his blood liquefy.

Many cities, especially New York’s Little Italy, host celebrations ranging from a single day up to nearly two weeks. These celebrations tend to include parades, entertainment, carnival-like games, and of course food! One of the most popular foods is a meatball sub with red peppers, but there is also a chicken version, which we will be making today. Relatively quick and easy, this Chicken San Gennaro is a great way to celebrate the feast and his Italian heritage.

Print Recipe
Chicken San Gennaro for the feast of St. Januarius • Cooking with Catholic Kids
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chicken, Italian
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chicken, Italian
  1. Slice the onions, dice the garlic and julienne the peppers into short, thin strips. Set aside.
  2. Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet with a little olive oil and saute the garlic over low heat. Turn up the heat and brown the chicken on both sides. My chicken was quite thick, so I covered it with a lid while it cooked. This kept it moist.
  4. Remove from the skillet and keep warm on a lipped plate (or bowl) covered with tinfoil.
  5. In the same skillet, pour in the white wine, scraping the brown bits. Sprinkle the oregano and basil and boil to make a sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  6. In the same skillet, saute the onions until brown and soft, with the red peppers right next to them. Add a little olive oil or extra white wine as necessary. Remove from the skillet.
  7. On a plate, lay a few slices of toasted Italian bread (Serve as opened faced, or closed sandwich) Place a chicken breast on top of one slice. Spoon a little sauce over it. Top with onions and peppers, or serve on the side. Note: I got the wrong type of bread, so didn't plate it as a sandwich. Make sure you get real Italian bread, and not the hard, on-sale "Baguette"!

As I sit here frying chicken with my 3-year-old daughter, amidst a Church embroiled in another scandal, and my own faith in the Church in question, I’m not sure what to say to her anymore. I am still Catholic, but one who might never look at the Church in the same way. What kind of Church do I want for my daughter? Surely not the current one.

So I sit in relative silence, listening to her chatter on about her day, how excited she is for preschool, and whatever Disney princess she identifies with that day. But what do I teach her? Perhaps that sometimes its OK to just exist — to not move either forward or backward, but just exist as we currently are and take time to heal.

I don’t know if prayers and penance is enough, although an important step and surely part of many miracles. But still, I don’t know what to do other than focus on my domestic church, and so I’m taking time to just exist in the presence of God.

Luckily, while my faith in the Church is challenged, my faith in God himself is not. And likewise, my faith in his ability to perform miracles is not challenged. A miracle is what we need, and St. Januarius shows that they can happen, consistently, time and time again. Our children need to know that, and we as adults often need reminding.

St. Januarius pray for us, and pray for our Church.


Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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