Chicken Cacciatore

One Sunday we were both in the mood for a good chicken dinner that wouldn’t take hours and we thought of Chicken Cacciatore. While there are countless versions of this recipe, Russ had one ear-marked in our “All New Joy of Cooking” that had passed the test of time. Including prep, it’s about 90 minutes from starting the prep to passing around the platter.

Chicken Cacciatore, which literally means “hunter’s style” in Italian, can be served with polenta, rice, egg noodles or pasta and since our pantry held an array of pasta types, we opted to pair the dish with a La Piana tortellini filled with eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper. Top with grated parmesan, add a side salad and Viola, magnifico!
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Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. chicken parts, rinsed and patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red (or white) wine
  • 2 oz. canned whole tomatoes with juice, crushed with your hands
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black loves, pitted and sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced

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chicken.in.sauce

Directions:

  1. In large heavy skillet over med-high heat, brown chicken on all sides in batches; remove to plate as they are done.
  2. Remove all but 2 Tbsp. of fat in the pan, reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add onions, bay leaf, rosemary and sage.
  4. Cook, stirring until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds more.
  6. Return chicken to the pan and pour in wine.
  7. Cook over medium heat until all the wine is evaporated (enjoy a glass for yourself), turning chicken and scraping up browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
  9. Add olives and sliced mushrooms.
  10. Cook covered for 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet and boil the pan juices over high heat until slightly thickened.
  11. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Flavors blossom when this dish is cooked a day ahead, just be sure to undercook slightly and reheat slowly to finish cooking.

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Cheater’s Version

On a whim while grocery shopping, we picked up a new Kraft boxed item called “Recipe Makers” which comes in a variety of flavors and gives you a jump start on a variety of home cooked meals. Our choice was none other than Chicken Cacciatore. In addition to a quick-fix weeknight meal, we wanted to compare the results to our Joy of Cooking meal (recipe above.)

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This is a slow cooker meal, so I prepped the veggies the night before and threw all of the ingredients in the crock pot before I left for work. The box components feature 2 cooking sauces: one a lemon oregano simmer sauce, and the other a tomato and Italian herb cooking sauce. Initially you coat all of the veggies and chicken pieces in the slow cooker with the simmer sauce, then top with the cooking sauce.

I have to say the house smelled great when I got home from work! This time we paired it with mini whole wheat rigatoni and a side of broccolini. While it wasn’t as intensely full-bodied compared to the homemade version, it is something we’ll do again— and we’ll even try some of the other flavors!

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Bon Appetit!

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