chicken cacciatore

so, my mom makes this amazing chicken cacciatore…wait, let me back up. my mom is an amazing cook and i will never live up to her. there, i said it. i’m sure most people feel this way about their mother’s cooking, but in my case it’s really true. my mom can turn something most people would consider mundane into the most delicious dish. i’ve often used her exact recipe and had my dish fall flat. she always says it’s good because she loves me, but we both know her version is always better.

fast forward to my determination to recreate her chicken cacciatore. it was with trepidation and an expectation of failure that i even attempted it. in my head i went through the ingredients that i know she puts in her recipe, and created a list, and took a stab at the cooking. when it was done, i lifted a spoon to my mouth to taste it and was blown away. it was amazing. exactly like hers! i couldn’t believe it, so i wrote it down and am now sharing it with you. she serves hers over rice because she is gluten free, however, i serve mine over pasta because, well, because pasta is awesome.

chicken cacciatore

chicken cacciatore

  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 anchovies
  • 6 cups fresh quartered tomatoes
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and minced
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaved removed and minced
  • 1 cup flour (my mom uses gluten free flour, but i use all purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6-8 chicken thighs (bone in or deboned)
  • olive oil (about 6-8 tablespoons total)

in a large pot, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and dredge the first batch of chicken thighs. knock off the excess flour and place into the hot pan. brown the thighs on each side, remove, and set aside. you aren’t cooking them, you are just browning them. continue working in batches until all of the chicken is browned.

in the same pan heat another two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, red peppers, green peppers and a little bit of salt. stir through occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the garlic and herbs. make a well in the center and toss in the anchovies* (i used italian anchovies packed in olive oil and suggest you do the same). smoosh these with the back of your wooden spoon until they begin to come apart and then mix them in with the rest of the vegetables. stir through for another two minutes and then add the tomatoes. stir all together and then add the chicken and any accumulated drippings into the pot. nestle the chicken in amongst the vegetables. cover this and reduce the heat to low. you want it to very slowly cook the chicken and slowly soften the vegetables (which will become a very thick and chunky sauce). leave it on the heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to an hour. you will know it’s ready when the vegetables are all but disintegrated and the chicken is falling off the bone or easily pulling apart (if you used boneless).

serve this over rice or pasta and enjoy!

notes: you can use chicken breasts for this, but they don’t have as much flavor. if you choose to use them i suggest using bone in chicken breasts. alternately you could use a whole chicken that has been cut into pieces. if you don’t want to do this, your butcher almost certainly will.

*anchovies won’t make this dish taste “fishy”, but they impart a nice intense saltiness that really can’t be recreated with anything else. if you are very unsure about using them you can leave them out, but i encourage you to try them, i think you will be happily surprised with the flavor.

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