Chicken Cacciatore is an Italian hunter’s stew made with fresh chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. The chicken is simmered slowly in a tomato broth, until fork tender and served with over pasta, polenta or potatoes. What makes this dish spectacular this time of year, is the warm comforting flavors that remind you of your favorite old school Italian restaurant. My recipe is pretty traditional, except I use roasted tomatoes with green chilies for a little heat, to enhance the tang of the sauce.
This recipe is great to make on the weekends, when you have a little time to let the chicken simmer for a while. You can also make this in your slow cooker, but be careful not to overcook the chicken because it could turn into tomato chicken soup, if cooked for too long. This recipe is nice with a fresh salad and served at a family supper or dinner party and delicious with an old Italian wine, like a Nebbiolo.
4 pound chicken, cut-up into 10 pieces
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, mined
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
14 ounce can roasted tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil, optional
1. Slice and dice all your vegetables. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and dried oregano. In an extra large saute pan, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place over medium high heat. When the oil is lightly smoking, add the chicken pieces and sear on the first side for 4 minutes.
2. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a dish, set aside. In the same pan, add the onion, mushrooms and red pepper, saute for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and stir to combine the flavors.
3. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Place the chicken back into the pan and lower the heat to simmer. Cover the pan and cook the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, for until fork tender. Half way through cooking, add the olives and stir, cover again with lid.
4. Cook pasta, polenta or potatoes and place them in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Remove the cooked chicken from the sauce and place it on top of the pasta. Turn the heat to high and reduce the sauce for 4 minutes. Ladle the sauce over the chicken pieces and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5. Top with fresh basil and serve family style at the table. Enjoy!