Chicken Cacciatore

Diced Onions illustration for Chicken Cacciatore recipeChicken cacciatore is a quick cook tomato-based chicken stew. Essentially you make a tomato sauce, then cook chicken pieces in it and tip in a drained can of beans towards the end of the cooking time. But, in a rewarding example of the whole being more than the sum of its parts, it tastes rich, complex and hearty – just the thing for a cool spring evening. Ha! Cool Spring Evening. It’s snowing here in NYC. Under a week since Jon was wearing shorts and we were eating guacamole on the balcony. March is fickle. 

Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)

2 medium onions
½ tbsp butter
½ tsp – 1 tsp sugar / tbsp of milk – (these are both ways to bring out the sweetness and reduce the acidic rasp of the tomatoes. Canned tomatoes seem to usually need some help.)
Garlic illustration for chicken cacciatore recipe1 fat clove of garlic (peeled)
1 large can or 2 normal sized cans of tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
4 – 6 chicken thighs
¼ cup white wine or vermouth

First, make the tomato sauce:

  • Dice the onions and fry in the butter with a splash of olive oil to prevent the butter burning. Season well
  • Once the onions are soft and sweet (about 5 mins) grate in the clove of garlic and turn in the heat
  • Pour in the tomatoes and let the tomato sauce simmer gently (if the tomatoes are whole, chop them)
  • Slice the chicken into bite sized pieces and season well
  • Add the wine and the chicken to the tomato sauce, and poach for 15  minutes, by which time the chicken should be cooked (if you are using bone in pieces or especially large “bite sized” chunks, the chicken will take longer – 20 – 25 mins)
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, taste the sauce. If it’s too sharp add some of the sugar. If it’s still too sharp, add the tbsp of milk. If the sauce looks like it’s getting too thick, add a little bit of water. Too runny? Turn up the heat and let some of the liquid bubble away.
  • Add a can of drained white beans (I like cannellini best) and stir through to warm

Serve the chicken cacciatore with some crusty bread for dipping, or, ideally, with garlic bread for dipping

If you can make that you can make this:

  • Add some chopped up red peppers along with the chicken pieces
  • Add a generous pinch of chili flakes to give the stew a warming kick
  • Stir in a cup of shredded cabbage along with the beans
  • Use bone-in chicken pieces rather than chopped chicken for added flavor (adjust the cooking time – they’ll need slightly longer)
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Marinara dip with mozzarella balls
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