Chicken Cacciatore

May 7th
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This is not something that is routine for me. You’d think I’d grown up eating it, with all the Italian food around, but no. It’s easy, healthy, and pleasing to most people but I’ve never made it, not once. Until this time, that is. It was a first-try recipe but my husband like, freaked out about it so I figured my first go-around was successful enough to share! 

As a person who is generally passionate about food, there are many many items I put in the “love” category. Like if you tell me what you’re cooking at your house when I’m coming over I’ll probably say, “Oh my gosh I LOVE ____”. There are then the several items I won’t ever like never never never – namely olives, sashimi (I just don’t get the appeal), and goat cheese. A few items are in an “eh” category and those are bell peppers, fennel and parsley. This could be why I avoided cacciatore – the peppers. I chose to make my version mushroom, garlic, and wine heavy (all items which hold a special place in my heart) and play down the peppers. Maybe you’re a cacciatore expert and you will leave a comment about how my version isn’t cacciatore at all (which is fine, because I’ll make it again exactly like this next time).

A cooking tip – when you work in stages like this recipe (cooking chicken, then mushrooms, then onions, etc) you want to remember to season as you go. Each part should taste good as it stands alone so that it will taste great all together. I keep a ramekin of kosher salt and one of black pepper next to my stove and sprinkle as I work. Under-seasoning is a rookie mistake and sometimes all you need to bring out the flavor in a somewhat disappointing meal.

Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 4

1 tbsp. olive oil

6-8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs

Salt and Pepper

1 lb. mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 c. dry red wine

1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 lb. wide egg noodles, optional

1. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.

2. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper. Place in pan and cook without moving until browned. Flip and brown on second side. Remove meat to a plate.

3. Add mushrooms to pan and saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release liquid, liquid evaporates, and mushrooms turn golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper).

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4. Add mushrooms to plate with chicken.

5. Add a second tbsp. oil to pan, and add onion and pepper. Saute until translucent and soft, about five minutes. Add garlic to pan and stir, cooking until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

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6. Add wine to pan and turn heat to high. When liquid reaches a boil reduce heat a bit and simmer until mostly evaporated.

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7. Add tomatoes (with juice) along with thyme, crushed red pepper, oregano, salt and honey. Stir to combine.

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8. Nestle chicken into tomato mixture and add mushrooms on top. Simmer mixture for about fifteen minutes.

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9. Meanwhile, simmer egg noodles in salted water until tender and serve with chicken and sauce (alternately, serve chicken with rice or any whole grain).

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