Friday, January 22, 2016

Chicken Cacciatore

Cacciatore is a rustic and hearty "hunter-style" Italian stew that typically consists of braised chicken pieces, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, assorted herbs and wine. In this version, I've also incorporated a few carrots for sweetness and some sliced button mushrooms. It is great served as is or with pasta on the side. And, as with most stews, tastes even better the next day!

8 pcs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 16 pcs. (2 packages) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup flour (for dredging chicken)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. sliced button mushrooms
1 carrot, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil 
1 cup dry red or white wine
1 28-oz. can plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
1-2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Grated parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

2. Sprinkle chicken on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour.

3. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the chicken (skin side down first and in batches, if needed) until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.

4. Add the onions and saute about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in the garlic, then add the carrot and bell pepper. Stir briefly then add the mushrooms and cook an additional couple minutes. 

5. Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced fresh tomato, tomato paste, basil, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, and sugar. Cover and cook 10 minutes over low heat. Adjust seasonings to taste (I add about 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of pepper). 

6. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, then nestle the browned chicken, skin side up over the top of the mixture. Cover and place in a preheated 350F oven and bake 45 minutes to an 1 hour or until the chicken is very tender. About 10-15 minutes before the cooking time is up, you can turn the heat up to 375F and uncover the pot to let the chicken brown & crisp up slightly before serving.

7. Transfer the chicken to a heated platter. Skim off fat from the sauce and pour over the chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley. 

Serve with fresh pasta, grated parmesan and fresh basil on the side. 

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs have more flavor than boneless, skinless.

Trim any excess fat off of the thighs and season with salt and pepper. 

Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in flour. 

Brown the chicken pieces in batched on both sides in a enameled cast iron pot or Dutch oven. Remove and set aside each batch on a plate.

San Marzanos are my favorite canned plum tomatoes. I use whole tomatoes, which I crush by hand, since they have better flavor than pre-crushed or diced canned tomatoes, IMHO.

Add the diced onions to the same pot and cook about 5 minutes until they start to brown. Next, stir in the chopped garlic. 

Add the carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms and continue stirring for a few minutes until the veggies just start to soften.

Add the wine. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, diced fresh tomato, tomato paste, herbs and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste (I add about 2 tsp. kosher salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper). Bring the mixture back up to a boil, turn off heat, then nestle in the browned chicken pieces skin side up - do not submerge the skin under the sauce so that it will stay crispy and brown.

Cover and bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. About 15 minutes before the cooking time is up, crank up the heat to 375F  and remove the cover. This will help to brown the chicken skin. 


No comments:

Post a Comment