Monday, April 12, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

I love this type of dish. Simple flavors that all go into one pot to create a gorgeous rich tasting meal. Originally from Italy this dish can be served alongside rice, pasta, polenta, salad, potatoes and fresh greens. I usually like to serve it with fettuccine drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parsley and parmesan. Yesterday though, I served it with steamed rice. Many chicken cacciatore recipes call for mushrooms which would be awesome, however Ian is allergic to these friendly fungi so we have to steer clear.

I decided to make this dish as I was having such a lazy day that I didn't want to be in the kitchen for ages. Ian was at work and I was happy revising for a potential new job. (Yes revising... how sad is that?). I really didn't want to break the momentum but I managed to pull myself away from my books and took a small break. When I say small it was less than 10 minutes, I began to color the chicken and chop the garlic and herbs. Once the chicken was browned I dumped everything into the pan with a can of chopped tomatoes and a few olives and allowed it to simmer and reduce. That's how simple it was. I then went back to my ventilation revision. After 30 minutes of simmering I removed the chicken pieces (drumsticks) and then continued to reduce the sauce on the stove until it was thick and ruby red. (The reason I removed the drumsticks were that they were so tender they were falling of the bone and I was worried that any further simmering may have caused the chicken to disintegrate). This reduction took a further 20 mins. Once reduced the chicken pieces were placed back into the pan and warmed through.

It was a great dinner. I think next time though I would use a combination of chicken breasts on the bone  and drumsticks. The reason for this is that I love drumsticks and Ian loves the breast!!! (Take that as you will!!).

Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)
8-10 Chicken drumsticks
4 garlic cloves chopped
1 sprig rosemary chopped
Olive oil
10 Sage leaves thinly sliced
1 Cup of chicken stock or white wine)
Splash of white wine vinegar if not using wine
8 Black Olives
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Large Can Diced Tomatoes
Large pinch Dried Red Chilli Flakes

Start by browning the chicken in the olive oil in a deep pan/ dutch oven/ casserole dish over a medium high heat. Once browned add the garlic, sage and rosemary and soften. Add the stock, vinegar or wine and stir lifting off any brown pieces from the bottom off the pan. Then add the tomato paste , diced tomatoes, chilli flakes and olives. Mix to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for approx 20-30 minutes until the sauce is reduced. I you feel the chicken is cooked through but the sauce needs to be thicker remove the chicken and continue to reduce the sauce. Once you have the desired thickness for the sauce add the chicken pieces back into the pan and warm through. Season with salt and pepper if required. I found that the olives added enough salty flavor and the red chilli flakes gave it the kick it needed. Once ready serve alongside your chosen side.

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