Chicken Cacciatore

We served a lot of this at one of the Italian restaurants I worked in.  I was curious to find out the background on it, and learned that it basically translates to “hunter’s style”.  That makes sense–  the sauce, the mushrooms, a little bit of wine.

I don’t cook seasonally at all, other than to base a meal on seasonal fruits or vegetables that I wait impatiently to become available in abundance.  Yesterday, however, I was working in the garden and the heat while trying to make a cake and dinner at the same time.   Put on my gardening clothes, run out and work until I needed a drink, wash up to the elbows, change into clean clothes, chop something, cook something, set the timer, tell hubby to tell me when it went off, change back into grubby clothes, head out to work some more…on and on during the hottest part of the day (high of 81…last cold front wimped me out again after the 94 temps. in FL).  By the time I was so tired I wasn’t sure how I was going to finish the chicken and cook a pot of pasta, I was wishing I had planned something simple like caprese or a big, fat chef salad.

I’d like to vow to start cooking seasonally, but I know myself well after all these years.   In the same manner in which I saw a green bell pepper in the grocery store and instantly thought of cacciatore and knew I had to have it, my eyes will use my mind to continue to tempt my taste buds with images of other meals, whether they are in season or not, and I will have to have them.  I’m just a little bit “Mr. Toad” in that way.

Ingredients:

1 whole hen, cut up

Flour for dusting

Salt & Pepper

2 medium bell peppers, cut into wedges

2 large onions, cut into wedges

1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced or quartered

2 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. dry white wine

2 c. tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 T fresh oregano, chiffonade

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium to high heat.  Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

Dredge in flour.  Cook chicken pieces in oil until browned on all sides.

Transfer to absorbent paper.

Add garlic to the same pan, saute.

Add onions, mushrooms, and peppers.  Saute until onions are tender.

Deglaze pan with wine and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add broth, tomato sauce, oregano, salt and pepper, and bay leaf.

Bring to a simmer.  Return chicken pieces to the pan.

Cook approximately 30 minutes or until internal temperature of the thickest piece of chicken reads at least 165 degrees.  Serve as is or over pasta or rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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