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Chicken Cacciatore

January 5, 2009

I’ve wanted to make chicken cacciatore ever since I saw it in one of my new cookbooks. That recipe called for roasting all the ingredients in the oven, which I found appealing because it brings out great flavor. I looked at more recipes and found others that included ingredients I love- vinegar, mushrooms and capers. So, I decided to take the best of all worlds and come up with my own version, which has a lot of flavor from vegetables, capers and salami, and has a lot more tomatoes that usual so it’s saucy enough to serve over pasta. This dish can be easily modified for the ingredients you have on hand- you can use balsamic or red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, use dried herbs instead of fresh or substitute Kalamata olives for the capers. If you’re short on time, you can sauté the vegetables in a little olive oil instead of roasting them- they won’t be as sweet and flavorful, but it will save you a little time and dishes. Serves 4.

3 T olive oil

3 T sherry vinegar

1 box cremini mushrooms, halved

1 red onion, sliced into ¼” slices

1 red bell pepper, diced

¼ t red pepper flakes

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

10 fresh sage leaves, torn in half

2 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)

1 whole chicken breast (2 breast halves)

5 slices salami, diced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

½ c dry red wine

1 c chicken stock

1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes

2 T tomato paste

2 T chopped capers

Salt and pepper, to taste

Spaghetti, cooked

Parmesan to top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss onions, mushrooms and diced red bell pepper with salt and pepper, 1 T olive oil and 2 T sherry vinegar. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Wash and pat dry chicken pieces and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 T olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Place salami, 2 sprigs of chopped fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes in skillet and sauté for a minute. Add the chicken to the pan skin side down and let cook for 6 minutes until skin has browned (don’t move the chicken around in the pan-not moving it will create a nicer browned skin. Turn pieces over and cook 6 more minutes on other side until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add garlic to pan and red wine. Cook red wine until reduced by half, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, sage and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add chicken back to the pan and cook over medium heat, covered, for 25 minutes turning chicken over half way through cooking. Remove chicken from pan again and set aside to cool. Stir tomato paste into skillet and add roasted vegetables, along with remaining chopped rosemary and capers. Turn up the heat and simmer the sauce rapidly until sauce thickens (about 10 minutes). There will be oil on the top of the sauce from the salami- skim off oil and discard. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and roughly chop meat into bite sized pieces. Stir chicken into thickened sauce, along with remaining 1 T sherry vinegar and taste to adjust seasonings. If the sauce gets too thick add some of the pasta water to loosen it up. Cook until heated through then spoon the sauce over pasta and serve with fresh Parmesan.

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