Welcome to my first post! I have been reluctant in choosing my first recipe. I wanted to introduce myself to you with something exotic and impressive. Chicken Cacciatore? Exotic? Well, maybe not so much (unless you pronounce it with a really thick Italian accent). Impressive? Actually, yes! This fairly simple recipe has so much flavor and it really is so delicious. I truly believe you will be impressed!

It hit me the other night, on the heels of a fairly cool October day. I wanted to prepare something hearty for my family to come home to. This is one of their favorite comfort foods. I love how tender the chicken becomes and how the many flavors come together for a perfect cool weather meal. I realized then that this represents the type of recipe I want to share with you through this blog. It is nothing complicated, it’s nutritionally healthy, and a perfect recipe for a weeknight family meal (it reheats perfectly the next day) or for entertaining on the weekend.

Buono Appetito!  (Yeah, still working on that exotic factor)

Chicken Cacciatore

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed, dried and trimmed of excess fat
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
4-6 thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes (optional)
1 cup dry white wine
28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Grated Parmesan for serving

Lay the chicken thighs out and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then dredge them in flour.  Shake off the excess.Using a large and heavy pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Sear the chicken thighs, 4 at a time, just until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the thighs to a plate.

Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and sauté the mushrooms until they begin to brown, then add the onion, celery, pepper and carrot. Continue sautéing until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and the sun dried tomatoes, if using. Sauté for one more minute.

Add the white wine. Simmer and reduce for about 2 minutes.

Now, this part is messy…but well worth it. Fish out the whole tomatoes from the can one at a time and crush them over the pot. I usually pull off any hard stem end of the tomato and discard that. Continue until you’ve crushed them all, then pour any of the juices left in the can into the pot as well.

Add the chicken stock, oregano, thyme leaves, capers and the chicken pieces. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil just before serving. Serve with grated Parmesan.

This dish is perfect over whole wheat spaghetti or a soft polenta (recipe below).

Notes:

  • Sometimes, when making this dish for guests or when I’m not too worried about a little extra fat, I use pancetta in this recipe.  Just use one thick slice, cubed quite small.  Brown it up before you brown the chicken.  Remove the browned bits onto a paper towel and use that fat to brown the chicken.  You can throw in the pancetta bits with the chicken for braising.
  • The sun dried tomatoes are not necessary, but I think they add a richness to the flavor of this dish…I love them.
  • I specify San Marzano tomatoes because they are really amazing.  They are sweeter and less acidic than regular tomatoes.  Honestly though, if you’ve got a can of any other tomato…they’ll work just fine.

Soft Polenta

1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup quick cooking polenta
1 tablespoon butter
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan,

 

In a medium pot over medium high heat, bring milk and stock to a boil.  Pour the polenta in a thin stream into the pot while whisking briskly.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 3 minutes.  Whisk in the butter and Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

 


 

Caroline
Submitted on 2013/01/21 at 10:24 am | In reply to Anonymous.
Andrea, that is the sweetest compliment! You’ve made my whole day! Thanks so much for coming back here to tell me that. I’m so glad you and your family liked it!

Anonymous
Submitted on 2013/01/20 at 7:23 pm
I found your recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight – it was delicious! Thanks so much – it was a hit and I will definitely be making it again!
Andrea

Caroline
Submitted on 2013/01/03 at 8:33 pm | In reply to Anonymous.
Nancy, you’ve made my day! I’m always thrilled to hear when someone has made one of my recipes! So glad you liked it…that’s one of my favorites. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. That was so sweet!
Happy New Year!
 Caroline

Anonymous
Submitted on 2013/01/03 at 4:56 pm
thanks for this recipe. I made it yesterday and it was delicious. Just what I was looking for.
Nancy
Montreal, Canada