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Entries in Chicken Cacciatore (1)

Sunday
Jan222012

Chicken Cacciatore

This is my take on the classic "hunters chicken" recipe from Tuscany.  Since I am a fan of cooking chicken on the bone, but not fighting with the bones once it's cooked, have added a couple of extra steps to the classic recipe for Chicken Cacciatore.  

A little more time, but you don't want your guests fighting with their food, do you?

For the chicken:

4-6 Split, bone-in, skin on, chicken breasts
2-4 Bone-in, skin on, chicken thighs
1 cup flour
1 tps salt
½ tps ground pepper
Olive Oil for Browning
¼ lb thick cut smoked bacon, diced

For the vegetables:

4 cloves garlic, minced
4 sweet onions, diced
4 red or green frying peppers, cut in ½ inch pieces
1 lb fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced  (optional)

For the seasoning:

1 tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs each Dried Italian Seasoning (oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary, savory)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

For the Braising Liquid:

2 cups Hearty Burgundy Red Wine
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (not with added puree)
(I use fresh crushed when I can get them at the farmers market)
2 Bay Leaves

Brown the chicken:

  • Combine the flour, salt & pepper in a large flat dish.   
  • Heat a large Dutch oven with the Olive Oil.  
  • Dredge the chicken, shake off excess, and brown, meat side down, until very golden.  
  • Turn, brown again, and set the browned chicken aside in a bowl while you finish browning the other pieces.  (Chicken will not be cooked through)

Caramelize the vegetables:

  • Add the bacon to the pan and cook until just starting to crisp.  
  • Add the garlic and the red pepper, and sauté for one minute, then immediately add the onions and stir to get the garlic off the bottom of the pan.  
  • Cook the onions until they soften and start to brown, and then add the peppers.  
  • Cook the vegetables until they begin to caramelize. 

Season:

  • When the vegetables start to stick, season with salt & pepper, and the dried herbs.  
  • Let the herbs salute with the vegetables for a minute or two.

Add the braising liquid:

  • Add the wine, and let it cook in the vegetables for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble.  
  • Then add the tomatoes and stir together.  
  • Once the tomatoes start to bubble, add the chicken, and turn the heat down to a simmer.  
  • It should just bubble slowly
  • Check to see that the chicken gets turned carefully in the sauce to keep it covered.  This will take about 1 to 1-1/2. 

Prepare for storage/serving

  • In about 1 hour, check the chicken to see if it is starting to falling off the bone. 
  • Remove the chicken from the pot.  
  • When it is cool enough to handle pull the chicken meat off the bones and set aside. 
  • At this point, you can allow the sauce to cook down a little more by turning up the heat and letting it boil.  
  • You can also refrigerate the sauce and the meat separately overnight. 

Serving:

  • When you want to serve, skim the fat off of the sauce, return the meat to the sauce, and allow it to simmer another 15-30 minutes, depending on how tender you want your chicken.
  • Serve over angel hair pasta or with a great loaf of Italian bread and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  
  • Enjoy with a glass of Chianti, which is the classic wine of Tuscany.