I recently picked up a Step by Step Italian Recipes magazine by America’s Test Kitchen and came upon a recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. Prepared the proper Italian way. I’ve made Chicken Cacciatore for years and years but a bit differently than the Test Kitchens. So I thought I’d try their recipe to see which we liked better. I’m always about changing things up.
6-8 bone in chicken thighs (I used 2 thighs, 2 legs)
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 portobello mushroom caps cubed (I used baby Bellas)
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 T AP flour
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind
2 tsp minced fresh thyme and 2 tsp minced fresh sage (I used basil)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven to shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until browned. About 4 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken to a plate and drain off all but about a tablespoon of the drippings. Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender. (I also added a sweet orange bell pepper.). Season with salt.
Add minced garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute stirring constantly.
Add the wine scraping up browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the skin from the chicken and submerge the chicken into the gravy as well as the Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 45-60 minutes.
Discard the rind before serving. Taste the gravy and season to taste. Serve over the pasta of your choosing.
I served it over spaghetti with grated asiago. It was good. But the consensus at our house was the not-authentic cacciatore is better. Sorry Test Kitchen.
Cook the chicken the same as referenced above. The way I’ve always made the gravy for cacciatore begins with dicing 5-6 slices of bacon. I cook the bacon until most of the fat is rendered but the bacon isn’t crisp. Drain off most of the fat and cook the vegetables (mushrooms, onion, and peppers) until tender. Add the garlic and basil. Cook until fragrant. Stir in 1 T of tomato paste. Stir in 1/2 cup of dry red wine scraping up any browned bits. Stir in 1 quart of tomatoes. Add the bacon, Parmesan rind, and submerge the chicken into the gravy. Cook 45-60 minutes. Serve over the pasta of your choosing.
You see the difference. A lot more tomato, a lot less wine. And bacon. My daughter says everything is better with bacon. And in this recipe I agree.
Try it both ways. Try it somewhere in between. Cooking is all about experimenting with recipes until you find something that tastes great to you.
Let me know what you think.