This dish goes way back with me ... it was one of the first dishes that I made as a young newlywed ... candle light, wine, and this meal for the man I love. I still think about that first time I made it for Hiel (who is really Silent Bob!) every time I make it ... and it still always brings back a wonderful memory of our candle lit dinner at the dining room table in the very first house that we bought right after we were married in 1980. It's amazing what a little chicken can do, huh?
Last evening we had Cacciatore with a wonderful side of creamed spinach ... another favorite. More wine, more candlelight and laughs over all the times we've had together. A nice dinner all around!
So ... Chicken Cacciatore ... it smells wonderful as it simmers away! One thing that I love to do with the mushrooms is to leave them in bigger bite-sized pieces, so I buy larger mushrooms and just quarter them. I also add a bit more chopped onion than the recipe calls for ... you do what you wish. I use inexpensive thighs and legs for this recipe and sometimes, if we have guests, I'll use boneless chicken thighs so that it's easier for folks to navigate the chicken. I always have plenty of good Parmesan for sprinkling on the pasta and the sauce. I always serve the pasta buttered with fresh parsley and plenty of black pepper- sauce on the side with the chicken. And finally, I always have a nice bottle of either Sauvignon blanc or Pinot Noir, depending on the mood, to accompany the meal.
Serves: 3 or 4 with room for dessert
Flour for dredging
1 ½ lbs. chicken thighs and legs (or all boneless thighs)
¼ c. olive oil
4 tbsp. chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. tomato pasta
½ c. dry white wine
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
¾ c. rich chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ tsp. basil
⅛ tsp. thyme flakes
⅛ tsp. ground marjoram
3 c. cleaned and quartered mushrooms, white or Crimini
2 tbsp. brandy
Cooked pasta for serving with the Cacciatore
Making the Dish:
1. Heat the olive oil in a deep Dutch oven, dredge the pieces of chicken in the flour and brown them on all sides.
2. When you have turned the chicken pieces to the last side for browning, add the onion and garlic and brown the vegetables along with the chicken over the high heat.
3. Add the dry white wine and de-glaze the pan a bit before lowering the heat to low and adding the tomato paste, spices, and chicken broth. Stir the sauce to incorporate the spices and break up the paste. When the sauce has a soft little bubble going on, add the mushrooms to the sauce around the chicken pieces, drizzle in the brandy, and cover the pan.
4. Place the pan in a pre-heated oven and let it simmer for about 30 minutes while you prepare a salad/side vegetable and pasta.
5. Plate with buttered pasta. Place a piece of chicken on a mound of pasta, arrange the mushrooms and some sauce around the chicken side of the plate, sprinkle with some good Parmesan and parsley and serve.
I hope you make this dish and some good memories of your own! Salut!