Gambe di Pollo Farcite

Chicken Drumsticks Stuffed with Ham and Cheese

Preparation info

  • For

    4 to 6


Appears in

Marcella's Italian Kitchen

Marcella's Italian Kitchen

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1986

  • About

Working the bone loose from chicken legs takes no particular skill, as you will see from the directions, but it takes patience and care to make sure the skin, which holds the leg together, is not torn. When the bone is gone, it leaves room for a stuffing of ham, Parmesan, garlic, and sage. The legs are then browned and cooked in white wine. It is a lovely dish to present and, with this treatment, the dark meat becomes even more interesting and delectable.


  • 12 large chicken drumsticks
  • tablespoons chopped boiled, unsmoked ham
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 10 small sage leaves chopped fine
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour, spread on a plate
  • cup dry white wine


  1. With a cleaver or other heavy chopping knife hack off the knuckle at the narrow end of the drumsticks.
  2. Use a sharp paring or other narrow-bladed knife to detach the meat from the bone. Begin working at the broad end of the chicken leg, severing all the tendons that fasten the meat to the bone. Do not cut or pierce the skin. As the meat begins to come loose, push it down with your fingers, working it toward the harrow end of the leg. Occasionally, it may turn inside out like a glove; turn it right side in again and continue working it down as you detach it from the bone. As soon as it comes away easily, pull off and discard the bone.
  3. Put the ham, grated cheese, garlic, sage leaves, salt, and a few grindings of pepper in a bowl. Mix with a fork until all the ingredients are smoothly combined.
  4. Use the ham and cheese mixture to stuff the cavities of the boned drumsticks. Close the open end of the legs with a toothpick or truss it with a light thread. If you choose to truss, make sure to put the needle safely away the moment you are finished.
  5. Choose a lidded sauté pan or skillet that can later accommodate all the drumsticks without crowding. Put in the butter and oil and turn on the heat to medium. Do not cover.
  6. Dredge the drumsticks in the flour. When the fat is hot, slide them into the pan. Brown them well all over, taking care when turning them not to break the skin or let it stick to the pan.
  7. Add the wine. When it has bubbled for a minute or two, lower the heat to very low and cover the pan. Cook for 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is tender. Turn the legs from time to time while cooking, handling them gently so as not to tear the skin.