Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

The first time I looked up recipes for Chicken Cacciatore I was amazed by how much the different versions varied both by ingredients (olives, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini, or none of those things) and by cooking method (oven, stove top, slow cooker). The heart of this dish is chicken cooked with tomatoes to make a hearty not-quite-stew that I like to serve with polenta. What I'm really saying is feel free (like I did) to change this around as much as you'd like and let me know how it goes!

Chicken Cacciatore
serves 4 to 6
printable recipe

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, sliced (or roasted red peppers)
1 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cans (15oz) diced tomatoes
1 T oregano
smidge of cinnamon
1 big sprig of rosemary
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
5 to 10 olives of your choice
Parmesan cheese
  • Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a deep-sided saute pan (or soup pot if you don't have a saute pan big enough). Sprinkle one side of  the chicken with salt & pepper. Place the salted side down in the pan and cook until it's a little brown. Sprinkle the other side and repeat. You will probably have to do this in two rounds. Set the chicken aside.
  • In the same pan, saute the onions and garlic (add a little more oil if needed) until they are just starting to brown.
  • Add the mushrooms (keep the heat high, mushrooms like that) and peppers and saute until they are starting to get brown edges. If the onions and garlic start to head in the direction of too brown, just go to the next step and it will all still turn out great.
  • Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and saute for about 2 more minutes. Tomato paste always tastes better if it is browned.
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes. Scrape all the good browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the chicken, tomatoes, herbs and spices, and the olives.
  • Give it all a good stir and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Just check it a couple of times to be sure nothing is sticking
  • Serve with pasta or polenta and top it with grated Parmesan cheese. Yum!!
PS - No, I still don't really like olives, but I do use them to season dishes. I just don't eat them.
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