Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hunter's Chicken

When I asked my dad what he wanted me to make for his birthday dinner and he said, "Chicken cacciatore," I thought, "Oh, that's easy. That's chicken breasts, dredged in flour, cooked and served with tomato sauce and spaghetti." That may be what I grew up on, but that's NOT chicken cacciatore. Chicken cacciatore, or, pollo alla cacciatore, literally means "hunter's chicken". It's a traditional way of braising chicken in a sauce. NOT with tomatoes. Thanks to my trusty Joy of Cooking and the internet, I was able to make a delicious version that I think everyone enjoyed. Now, technically, since I added mushrooms, it became "pollo alla forestiere" (forester's chicken), but tough beans.

I served it with a traditional side of baked polenta (to be raved about in another post) and some roasted broccoli (the last of the season). And, of course, the meal was followed up with my dad's staple favourite -- pineapple upside-down cake.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredient List

All Purpose flour
table salt
ground black pepper
boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~ 1 kg)
olive oil
white onion (1 medium)
bay leaves (2)
Italian seasoning
garlic
wine (red or white), dry
crushed tomatoes (796 mL/28 fl. oz can)
chicken stock/broth
mushrooms (227 g)

Directions
Mix ¼ cup AP flour in a bowl with 1 tsp table salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture and brown in batches in the pot. Remove to a plate.

Remove all but 2 tbsp of the fat/oil. Add 1 medium white onion, chopped (~ 1 cup), 2 bay leaves, and 2 tsp Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, for ~ 5 minutes, until the onion browns. Add 2 cloves garlic, minced, and cook for another 30 seconds.

Return the chicken to the pot and add ½ cup dry wine. Scrape up the fond and boil until all of the wine evaporates.

Add 1 can crushed tomatoes and ¾ cup chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes.

Stir in 227 g mushrooms, sliced. Cook for at least 10 minutes, until the juices thicken. (Depending on evaporation, add back some water if needed.)

Season to taste.

Makes 8 servings.

Notes
Polenta is a traditional side dish.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 327
Total fat 15 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Cholesterol 111 mg
Sodium 379 mg
Carbohydrate 8 g
Dietary fibre 2 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 38 g
Vitamin A 9 %DV
Vitamin C 15 %DV
Calcium 4 %DV
Iron 11 %DV

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