Fabio got me in the mood for chicken cacciatore. After watching the classic Italian episode of Top Chef I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This is unusual because chicken really isn’t my thing. Everyone seems to love it but I think it’s boring and kind of sketchy. Why can’t it be served raw? Ok I know the answer to that, but still it’s weird. Even with my aversion to chicken, I still wanted to make chicken cacciatore. I don’t know if it was Fabio’s-a eye-talian accent, or mountain of tomatoes on top of each piece of chicken, but I had to have it, like ASAP.
I used Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe from the Food Network. With 600 positive reviews, it looked like a pretty good one UNTIL I saw the the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Damn. I immediately wished I had bought all those ingredients instead. Oh well, close enough.
Heat the oil and butter in pan, when hot cook the chicken for about 5 minutes per side – making a crispy crust on the outside layer. The original recipe didn’t have butter, but per the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, I added it. Yum. Don’t crowd the pan! Do this in batches using tongs. When the chicken is done, set it aside.
Then cook the red pepper, onion and garlic in the same pan for about 5 minutes. Then add the wine and simmer for about 3 minutes, reducing by half.
Then add the tomatoes and their juice, and the chicken broth.
In the meantime boil some pasta to serve with it. When the chicken is done, remove the chicken and veggies from the using a slotted spoon and let the sauce reduce even more, so it becomes thicker and better for use on the pasta.
Chicken Cacciatore (slightly adapted from Giada de Laurentiis via the Food Network)
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons butter
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons drained capers
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- Whatever kind of pasta you want (I used whole wheat rotini)
- Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.
- In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers, turmeric and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
- In the meantime cook pasta to go with the chicken according the directions on the package.
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.
This dish turned out great and it was a huge hit. I wish I had some Parmesan to sprinkle over the finished product. And I’m thinking about doubling the about of tomatoes next time I make it, is that overkill? I just miss tomatoes! The bottom line: chicken cacciatore is a comforting pasta dish packed with protein and perfect for the winter. Plus its super easy to make and requires no special equipment or ingredients.
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