Chicken Cacciatore

Before I start preparing a new dish, I like to do  a little research  about it’s origin,   name and the history behind it. After looking for some information in the internet about chicken cacciatore, I found out that “cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian and this dish was hunters dish in old times. According to the story, if a hunter came home empty handed, his wife would kill a chicken and prepare this meal using whatever vegetables they had, olives and wine. That’s why, some recipes call for onions, mushrooms, carrots, peppers;   some use capers instead of olives. This time I prepared this dish with lots of onions, carrots, mushrooms and olives; and, of course, lots of fresh tomatoes. It came out fantastic.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 10 cremini mushrooms,  sliced
  • 3-4 medium size ripe and juicy tomatoes, crushed (use food processor for that) or one 28 ounce can of tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ white wine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt, pepper

Directions

  1.  Season the chicken pieces  with salt and pepper from both sides.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Working in batches, so that you don’t crowd the pan, place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan.  Cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes,  turn over and lightly brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a bowl, set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add little oil if needed and sauté onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms .Increase the heat to medium high. Cook until the onions are translucent, and the mushrooms have given up most of their moisture, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook a minute more.
  4. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes. Stir in the thyme, oregano, and about a teaspoon of salt. Test and taste to adjust. Place the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes and onions, skin side up.  Lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid slightly ajar.
  6. Cook the chicken on a low simmer, turning and basting from time to time. Cook until the thighs are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

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Chicken cacciatore
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