Fleur de Lis

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

It was one of those rare Sunday afternoons when I have the house all to  myself. I've been dreaming of an afternoon to spend some time cooking some Italian comfort food. Chicken Cacciatore fit the bill perfectly. 

Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian. Cuisine wise this would refer to a meal or dish prepared hunter style with tomatoes, onions, some bell pepper and herbs. You can use a mixture of chicken pieces, such as thighs and breasts, but I made this one with all breasts cut horizontally into two pieces.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. 

4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. poon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve. Serve over noodles or polenta.

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