Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore
This wonderful chicken dish is a big favorite at our dinner table the year 'round! The tender chicken bathes in an intensely flavored tomato base filled with firm mushrooms and tender red bell pepper that is absolutely delicious! Side this dish with a green salad, and pasta or polenta for a satisfying meal everyone will love.

Chicken Cacciatore
Yield: Serves 4     Preparation Time: 30 Minutes     Cooking Time: 55 Minutes



• ¼ Cup Flour 

• 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
• 2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

• 1 Whole Chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into pieces, rinsed and patted dry

• 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

• 10 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms, quartered

• 1 Onion, chopped

• 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

• 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped

• ½ Cup Dry Red Wine

• ½ Cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or Low-Sodium store bought

• 1 (28 ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes

• 4 Teaspoons Dried Oregano

• 2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme leaves
• ⅓ Cup Fresh Basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish

Preparation Steps

Step 1. In a shallow dish, combine the Flour with 1 teaspoon Salt and 1 teaspoon Pepper. Use another 1 teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper to season all of the Chicken pieces then working in batches dredge the Chicken pieces in the Flour mixture and shake off the excess Flour.

Step 2. Heat the Oil in a Dutch-oven set over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding; brown the Chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Remove and transfer the Chicken to a plate to rest.

Step 3. When all of the Chicken is browned, add the Mushrooms, Onion, Red Pepper and Garlic and sauté until the Onions are translucent. 

Sautéed Mushroom, Onion, Red Bell Pepper and Garlic for Chicken Cacciatore

Step 4. Add the Wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze, and cook until reduced by half. Add the Stock, Tomatoes with their liquid, Oregano and Thyme.

Step 5. Return the Chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce then bring the mixture to a simmer.

Step 6. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Serve over Pasta or Polenta with some crusty Italian Bread. Enjoy!

Tips and Trending

~ You can substitute the common white Button Mushroom for the Cremini Mushrooms in this recipe. Cremini Mushrooms are simply White Buttons that are a little more mature. They have a better flavor and a firmer texture to hold up in sauces and other liquids. If the White Buttons are left to mature past the Cremini stage, they become Porta Bella Mushrooms! The Baby Porta Bella's you see at the grocers are simply Cremini Mushrooms.

~ Having your own homemade chicken stock handy all the time is really simple. Put the carcass from a whole chicken that you roast, or when you buy those super convenient rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, into your largest stock pot with 8 cups of water. Remember where the water level is and then add 2 more cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the water level reaches that 8 cup level. (This is going to take about 3½ to 4½ hours, depending on the size of the stock pot.) Strain out all of the solids and voila - homemade chicken stock! To reduce the amount of fat, chill the stock overnight and then skim the solidified fat from the surface. Use or freeze immediately.
~ Use an ice cube tray or a muffin pan to freeze the stock in premeasured amounts – usually about a ¼ cup each in the ice cube trays and ½ cup in muffin pans. Remove the frozen stock from the tray or pan and store in zippered storage bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.

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