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January 14, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's another made up recipe with no particular claims for authenticity. I can make claims for tastiness, though - this was quite good, though I think I'm going to tweak it a bit the next time I make it. I can tell it's going to reheat beautifully - I'm in for a really tasty lunch or two in the near future.

I also keep spooneristically turning this dish's name into Kitchen Chacciatore. So, here's how I made Kitchen Chacciatore.

The Ingredients

  • 2 links hot Italian sausage.[1]
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into largish pieces.[2]
  • ~1 lb. mixed mushrooms (cremini and oyster).[3]
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes in juice plus 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice.
  • Approx. half a dozen smallish onions, peeled and halved.[4]
  • 1 cup vegetable broth.[5]
  • 1/2 cup red wine.
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled.
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste.[6]
  • oregano, and herbes de provence, to taste.[7]

[1] Italian sausage does not appear in most of the chicken cacciatore recipes I've seen, but given that I was using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I thought it would add a little extra flavor. Mmmm. Good choice.

[2] Ideally, one would use bone-in, skin on chicken pieces. But I had boneless, skinless breasts sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked.

[3] Next time I'd make this, I'd use more mushrooms. I always forget how much volume mushrooms lose when you cook them.

[4] The onions that I used were labelled "shallot onions", and were rather like shallots on steroids - much bigger than the shallots that I'm used to. I kind of liked the rusticness of big hunks of onion, but I don't think I'd particularly seek out shallot onions again. Probably just use a yellow onion or two and cut it into chunks.

[5] The cacciatore ended up more liquidy than I think is ideal. So, next time, I'll reduce or eliminate the broth.

[6] Not the hugely expensive super-aged syrupy stuff. Just a decent quality balsamic vinegar.

[7] I love herbes de provence, and use them at the slightest provocation. However, I realize that not every American kitchen is automatically stocked with this mixture of oregano, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and fennel. If you don't have herbes de provence, toss in some thyme and any of those other herbs that you have on hand and which happen to sound good to you.

The Steps

  1. Cut sausage up into bite-sized pieces, and cook them in a soup pot over medium-high heat until some of the sausage fat starts to render out. Add the chicken, and cook until the sausage and the chicken are lightly browned. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot, and cook until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid and shrunk up.
  3. Add the wine and a couple of good slugs of balsamic vinegar, and cook a couple of minutes more, until the liquid has reduced a bit.
  4. Add broth, tomatoes and their juice (break up the whole tomatoes with your fingers), chicken and sausage, and garlic. Stir everything together, taste, and add oregano and herbes de provence in an amount that seems good to you. Add salt and pepper if you like.
  5. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve.

I served it with some roasted fennel on the side, but what would really make this dish fantastic is some nice crusty bread to mop up the lovely tomatoey herby broth with. (If one reduced the amount of liquid, making the dish less soupy, this would also work great served over pasta, or couscous, or even rice.)

Posted by spaceling at January 14, 2006 08:46 PM

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