As the weather has been cooling I have found myself gravitating towards comfort dishes more and more. This weekend there was a nice sale on whole chickens and I picked some up. The first recipe that I thought of was chicken cacciatore or hunter's style chicken that I had been wanting to try. After looking at a few recipes it seemed to me that chicken cacciatore was pretty much chicken that is braised in a marinara sauce . I really liked the sound of the chicken cooking in the marinara sauce as all of the drippings would meld into the sauce and enhance its flavour. Since the chicken was being braised in the sauce it should come out nice an tender and it should be flavoured by the sauce as well. After thinking for a while I decided to serve the chicken cacciatore on a bed of cheesy risotto.
Marinara sauce is always fun to make and I like to play around with it, trying different things each time. I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to my sauces and this time I tried adding some capers as well. Since I had decided to serve the chicken cacciatore on some risotto I grated all of the parmigiano reggiano up front and threw the rind into the sauce for some extra flavour as well.
The hardest part about this dish was dividing the chicken into pieces as I had never done it before. It took me quite a bit of time to get it done but with some practice I should get quicker. (You could just use chicken thighs and avoid having to cut up a whole chicken if you want.) After dividing the chicken the rest of the dish is pretty straight forward and easy. The chicken cacciatore turned out great! The chicken was fall of the bones tender and full of flavour and the sauce was so tasty! In fact I think it is one of the best sauces that I have made. The creamy and cheesy risotto rounded everything off perfectly. After the first meal I pulled all of the chicken off the bones and mixed it into the sauce. The leftovers were even tastier the next day and I have been enjoying them all week. I threw the bones into a freezer bag and tossed them into the freezer to make chicken stock with in the future.
Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small chicken (divided into 8 pieces)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped)
- 4 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 splash balsamic vinegar
- * parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 handful parsley (chopped)
- Heat the oil in a large pan.
- Add the chicken and fry skin side down until golden brown and set aside.
- Add the oil to the pan and heat.
- Add the red pepper flakes, onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms and pepper and saute until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for a minute.
- Add the wine, deglaze the pan and simmer to reduce to half.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, balsamic vinegar, parmigiano reggiano, oregano and capers and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the chicken and simmer until cooked, about 20 minutes.
Option: For One-Pan: Make this a one-pan meal by adding 1 cup of rice and 2 cups broth or water (or 8 ounces of pasta and 2 1/4 cups broth or water) to the sauce in step 8 and simmer, covered, until cooked, about 20 minutes (or 12 minutes for pasta).