This is a simple-enough dish, perfect for those cooler evenings we’ve been having. I was able to multiply this by a lot, to serve fifty or so, for a small wedding the deli catered at one point. Because- it is simple enough, but is also colorful (appetizing) and delicious (so folks eat it up!).
My mom made this a bit when we were kids. I think she might’ve like the fancy name, which put a smile on dad’s face when he asked, “What’s for dinner?” Or maybe she liked that she’d have to open a bottle of wine and have a sip herself. (Not that she was a whino! But a glass of wine’s good for you, right?!)
Mom typically dredged the chicken in flour before cooking, but the method below makes this dish gluten-free (if you skip the optional pasta). But still delicious!
“Cacciatore” literally means “Hunter”. And while there have been a few hunters in the family, most of my hunting will be in the grocery aisle!
When using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a brine makes it extra tasty, although the traditional method of using the whole chicken (bones and all) will yield a most flavorful dish. What a comfort food! Serves 6-8.
- 2 lb. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, or one 4-5 lb. whole fryer, cut up
- 1 TBS. sugar
- 1 TBS. salt
- 1 TBS. Italian Herbs
- Olive oil (for grilling veggies)
- 8-12 oz. pasta
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 green pepper
- 8 oz. mushrooms
- 28 oz. can tomato pieces (large chunks, drained)
- 1 c. chicken stock (include cooking juices from cooking the chicken, also)
- 1 c. red wine
- 1 small jar (2-3 oz. or so) capers
- 1/2 TBS. minced, fresh garlic
- Optional: Pasta
A day ahead, prepare brine for the chicken by bringing to a boil: > 2 c. water
Turn off heat, add: > 1 TBS. Italian Herbs > 1 TBS. salt > 1 TBS. sugar
Add to mix, refrigerating until completely cooled: > 2 c. cold water
When brine has cooled, add: > 2 lb. boneless chicken thighs, or one cut-up fryer
Refrigerate chicken in the brine overnight.
To prepare dish, pour off brine and bake chicken in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, until done.
Meanwhile, boil until liquid is reduced by about half: > 1 c. chicken stock > 1 c. red wine
Also, prepare the vegetables. In iron skillet, cook until tender: > 2 carrots, peeled, sliced into rounds > 1 onion, diced coarse > a splash of olive oil
For tastiest, sweetest veggies, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan while they cook, which will eventually evaporate, but which will help them to cook in the meantime.
When water’s evaporated and carrot/onions are tender, add to the pan and grill: > 1 green pepper, diced coarse
Add the peppers/carrot/onion to a stewing pot; also add: > 28 oz. canned tomato chunks, drained > any chicken broth accumulated from cooking the chicken > reduced broth > 1/2 TBS. minced, fresh garlic
In the skillet, grill the mushrooms (being careful not to crowd them, as then they steam and don’t brown properly). Grill in batches if necessary: > 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Bring the vegetables up to a boil, simmering until of a sauce-like consistency. Finally, add: > small jar of capers, drained > fresh herbs, if desired (thyme, rosemary, parsley, and oregano are all good choices) > the chicken pieces
Add salt if necessary. Serve over pasta if desired.