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Chicken Cacciatore



Chicken Cacciatore. Chicken Cacciatore is one of those timeless chicken dinners that most people love. I mean who would be crazy about tender and juicy chicken pieces, with crisp skin, cooked in a lush tomato, pepper, onion, mushroom and garlic sauce! 

Not me, that's who!  Dan the man had been asking for Chicken Cacciatore and so we made his wishes come true on Valentines Day just past.

 
It also gave me a reason to use the Rock Pan that I had bought myself at WalMart before Christmas.  It was on sale and looked like a nice pan. I figured if I bought myself some pans one at a time when they are on sale, I could accumulate a nice collection to replace the ones I had to leave behind in the UK.
 
This was The  Rock Pan, 12 inch deep skillet, with what looks like a very durable non-stick finish. Its quite large and came with a heavy duty lid, and you can put it into the oven as well as cook on the top of the stove.  I did pay  $40 for it, which I suppose is not a lot in the scheme of things and if you are only buying one pan at a time!


I love the finish on it.  It almost looks like granite.  Its got a nice heavy base as well.  I have used it twice in the last week. I did a stew in it one night and then this chicken cacciatore on Sunday.

I am well impressed with its performance. It is hard to know what to buy when you have not lived in a country for over 20 years.  Things are always changing and my sister is still cooking with my mom's old alumininum wearever cooking pans.


It had been a very long time since I had made Chicken Cacciatore.  My first time making it was when I was a very young bride living in Calgary Alberta. I got what was a really good deal one week on these chickens at SafeWay. They were like only 99 cents a piece.

What I didn't know was that they were stewing hens, not reguarl chicken.  That night we had Chicken Cacciatore made with rubber chicken. LOL  No, I was not always a good cook. 

Chicken Cacciatore

 What I know now I have learned from years and years of experience.  Making mistakes, having successes, all gained from cooking for my large family through the years.  

I learned even more by going to Culinary School to become a chef when I was 45 years old and had moved to the UK.  I wanted to learn to cook properly.  This was something that I had always wanted to learn how to do throughout my whole life.



And of course I learned even more when I was working as a personal chef through my years at Brenchley Manor.  It was such a wonderful experience to be able to cook with the finest ingredients and equipment. I got to stretch my skills in ways I had only ever dreamt of.   

Money was really no object.  Not like at home. At home we all have budgets to follow and stick within.  There it was only the finest of everything. I will always be grateful for that experience and the lessons I learned.


Chicken Cacciatore is an Italian recipe. Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian. It was a type of stew originally developed in Italy to use with rabbits that they had hunted and foraged for.  
 
With a rich tomato and vegetable sauce it made for a hearty and economical meal for hunters and their families.  It also made for a delicious meal.  To be honest I have never eaten any Italian cuisine I did not like and fall in love with.


The recipe I used for this was adapted from one I found on the Pioneer Woman's page.  The Pioneer Woman's recipes are usually quite good, and as I had not made it in a very long time I wanted to go with something I knew would probaby be quite good. 

Dan had very fond memories of his mom's Chicken Cacciatore and I did not want to disappoint him, so I thought I would follow a recipe if I could that I knew would be somewhat reliable. Of course I switched out a few things, as you do.



She uses green peppers in hers along with the red.  We didn't have any green pepper, just red and yellow.  To be honest we sometimes find green pepper a bit hard to digest.

I also used button mushrooms instead of crimini mushrooms.  I have also seen this dish using dried mushrooms in the past.  Button mushrooms work just fine and I like to cut them into thick slices.


I cut all of the vegetables into thick slices.  I felt it would be quite rustic and as it is a peasant style of dish I thought rustic would work better all round.

I also left out the turmeric.  I wasn't sure how that would go down here in this house.  We didn't have any wine in the house. White or otherwise.


I used chicken broth in its place along with a splash of Worcestershire Sauce. Not traditionally Italian, but it worked beautifully.  To be honest if I had been making it for just myself I would have added a splash of Balsamic Vinegar.

They don't like vinegar in things in this house, so I did not. The fanciest I could get was to use a bit of Worcestershire Sauce. I;ll also be honest here, for this family I cut the amount of garlic in half and it worked well.


To get a really crisp skin, do make sure you brown the chicken adequately. I cut up my vegetables while the chicken was browning. I find if I distract myself with some chore like that I am less likely to "worry" things that I am trying to brown.  Just don't let yourself become too distracted! 

This was beautiful.  The chicken was cooked perfectly. (Don't be tempted to use breasts in this. Thighs are the perfect cut.  Chicken breasts would dry out too much.) It was tender and lush and the sauce was beautifully flavoured.  We enjoyed it with brown rice and some corn.

She recommends serving it with pasta.  I am not sure why but she cooks the pasta really early on, before she even starts the cacciatore. A big mistake I think. If I was having pasta with this, I would not even start cooking the pasta until the chicken was almost done!  

In any case, this was delicious and comes "Dan" and family approved.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 1 Hourtotal time: 1 H & 15 M
An old Italian favourite. Made with chicken, peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes! Delicious!

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
  • fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (70g) all purpose/plain flour
  • 4 TBS light olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half moons
  • 2 red peppers, trimmed, seeded and thickly cut into slices
  • 2 other coloured peppers, trimmed, seeded and thickly cut into slices
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 pound button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • splash worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) chicken stock
  • 1 (28 oz) (1 400g) tins of chopped tomatoes in juice, undrained
  • grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Have ready a large oven proof skillet with a lid.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour shaking off any excess.
  3. Heat the olive oil and butter together in the skillet until the butter begins to foam. Add the chicken pieces skin side down.  Brown carefully on the top side then flip  over and brown the underside. (Do not crowd the pan. Cook in batches if need be, removing chicken as it browns to a clean plate.)
  4. When the chicken is browned, drain off half of the fat in the pan and discard.  Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for several  minutes, just until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute longer.
  5. Add the chicken stock, allowing it to bubble up.  Then add all of the herbs, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.  Season lightly to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Add the chicken thighs, skin side up, nestling them into the tomato/vegetable mixture. You don't want them completely covered.
  7. Place a lid on top and pop into the oven.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  9. The chicken is done when the juices run free and it is tender.
  10. Serve the chicken with some pasta or rice and some of the vegetables from the pan. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top to serve.
Did you make this recipe?
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Marie Rayner
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3 comments:

  1. That was a lovely gesture to make this for Dan - I bet he was a happy chappy.

    I smiled at your memory of your first time making this. Even though it was a less than successful meal, you can still look back and remember it fondly and be happy that you've come a long way since then!

    Funnily enough, the very first dinner party I gave as a new bride back in the dark ages had a very similar dish. I can still recall the menu - Cream of Cauliflower soup with garlic croutons, Chicken Marengo served with rice green beans and carrots and then a Mango Mousse and whipped cream for dessert. The main course was made with chicken pieces, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and some wine. Not unlike this. My 21 year old self thought that she was very sophisticated.

    I've made chicken cacciatore over the years, but mine has pitted black olives in it - I like that addition, but then I really like olives and it may have been a regional thing from the area of Italy that the person who gave me the recipe came from. It's a great dish to make because it freezes well, so even if you are a small household, you can make the full recipe and keep some of it in the freezer for a busy day. I like those sort of recipes.

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  2. He really was pleased. I can remember thinking at times I was so sophisticated when I cooked for friends when I was younger, adding and trying new things, some of which horrify me now. But we can laugh at our younger selves. It is all a part of growing and learning. I love black olives and capers also in a cacciatore, but this family wouldn't go for that. They are very simple in their tastes, and that's okay. You are right about this being a great dish to make ahead and pop into the freezer. I like those sorts of recipes also Marie! No surprise there! xoxo

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  3. One of the most favorite of mine is this dish!! I usually put in some sliced black olives and some slices green olives with the pimento in them as well as the garlic, onions, red bell peppers (they are easier to digest and sweeter as they are RIPE...green ones are not ripe...though in some things I do enjoy a few of them). Use mushrooms sometimes too. Never thought of using some worchestershire. I am doing more with balsamic vinegar these days too...but my fav vinegar still is rice vinegar. Enjoy your recipe ideas!! Thanks for sharing them.
    Elizabeth xoxo

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