Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatore

 

As I often mention, there are usually ample opportunities for substitutions and personal preferences in recipes.  This recipe is no different.  In fact, it may be a stellar example.  After looking at about a dozen recipes, I took what I wanted and left what I didn’t.  One or two items got substituted at the left minute because of what I had on hand.  Plus, this dish is a one-pot wonder.  Here’s how it went.  You will need:

 

 

  • Chicken (I used two legs, two thighs and two boneless, skinless breasts slightly pounded out.  I cut each half breast in half for easier handling – you can use any parts that work best in your house – 8 pieces should feed 4 to 6 people)
  • Pepper bacon, ½ lb, diced
  • 8 oz Cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 4 or 5 anchovies (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I probably used twice that much – garlic is very popular in my house)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I like to use red peppers because I think the green ones can be a little bitter, but its your choice)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 1 or 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 C white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 28 oz tomatoes w/juice (I use whole, canned tomatoes and crush them as I add them  to the pan)
  • 1 tbsp oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 1tsp sage (optional)
  • 1 C black olives, pitted (optional but if you use them, I recommend Greek olives)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

bacon

 

Begin by rendering your bacon in a heavy, deep pot.  A dutch oven or something similar will work nicely.  Once the bacon is crisp, remove to a paper towel to drain.  Use a slotted spoon.  Do NOT remove rendered fat from the pan.

 

chopped veggies

 

 

While you are waiting for your bacon, cut up your onions, carrots and celery, pepper, mushrooms, if using (or you could buy them sliced, like I do) and the olives, if using..  I used a rough chop.  Add the oregano and sage to the hot oil and stir  for a minute or two.  I find this infuses the oil and adds another layer of flavor to the dish.

 

 

browned chicken

 

 

Add the chicken to the pot (in batches if necessary).  Lightly brown each side for 3 or 4 minutes.  You don’t have to cook the chicken throughout because it will be simmered later.  Remove pieces to a plate and keep warm.

 

 

 

veggies simmering

 

When all the chicken has been browned, add the chopped vegetables and anchovies (I didn’t have anchovies so I used some anchovy paste.  Why I have that, I have no idea.)  to the hot oil and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften a bit, about 7 to 10 minutes.  With a minute or two left, add the garlic.  You don’t want it to burn.

 

 

chicken in pot

Add the wine, chicken broth and tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan and loosen all that delicious goodness hiding on the sides and bottom of the pan.  Return the chicken to the pan along with the bay leaves and the bacon, cover the pot and simmer until the chicken and vegetables are tender.  If desired, you can thicken the liquid a bit using a slurry of corn starch and hot tap water.  Remember, liquid into dry, not the other way around.  A few tablespoons of corn starch and just enough hot water to dissolve it is all it takes.  Add to the pot a little at a time and give it time to work before adding more.  Otherwise, you may have school paste.  Ciao for now and enjoy!

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