Sunday, January 11, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore

Me: "I fancy some Italian" (referring to food in this case peeps)

Me: "Peeeezzzaaahhh!!! yayyyyyy"

Me: "Not the healthiest food in the world!!"

Me: "Thats debatable, but Pizza- you know you love it!!"

Me: "Its not even a week into the new year and you're supposed to make better food choices." 

Welcome to the inner workings of a obsessed foodie mind!

And this is how ladies and gentlemen, I arrived at making this stupendous version of Pollo alla cacciatore or Chicken in hunter's style. 

The rustic stew is absolutely magical and its perfect for a date night. Serve it on a plate of pasta and I'm telling you, thou shalt be hailed the next Italian food Queen/ King. 

Or just make it for your own-self because you are worthy of having the best. For me its the perfect winter-y evening companion.... spicy, sexy, saucy, stew-y..... mmmmmm. And those colours!! What a beautiful sight to behold



Traditionally, Cacciatore is a one pot stew made with wine but I skipped that out. And I think it tasted even better this way! Ofcourse I had to add my special touch to it, so keep reading!  

Here's how you make it

Serves: 4

Time taken: 1.45 hrs

Complexity: **

You'll need

4 boneless chicken thighs (bones do add more flavour, so use that if you want)
4-5 Red peppers (no idea what the name of these is, but the pic will help you)
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large red onion
2 cups mushrooms 
2 tbsp capers
4 large garlic cloves
1 can of crushed tomatoes (I puree mine at home)
1 cup of mixed black and green olives
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
Olive oil for cooking
Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp dried oregano
a few basil leaves for garnish
Pinch of your love (Never omit that!!) 

Method

First things first, have your vegetables all prepped and ready. Wash them and wipe them off with a clean towel. 



Chop them like so. Thick slices of the peppers, and quarter your mushrooms. 



To prep the chicken, wash and pat it dry. Line it up in a plate. Season it with salt and pepper



Don't forget to season it on the other side as well



In another plate, have the all purpose flour ready. Dredge the chicken in that flour. 



Coating it evenly on both sides. Make sure you dust off the excess. Also make sure you are not touching your hands anywhere after you touch the chicken. we don't want to cross contaminate. 


In a pan, drizzle some olive oil on medium heat for a couple of minutes. The pan should be hot enough so that when you add the chicken, it sizzles. Add your chicken to it. We want some colour on the chicken and not to cook it. So a minute on each side should suffice. Raise the heat if you need to.



Turn when the chicken is golden on one side.



Remove from pan and transfer to a plate once both sides are nicely golden brown and slightly crispy. Ahhh how gorgeous is that! 



In the same pan which has all those beautiful chicken juices and those gorgeous brown bits sticking to it, and some leftover oil, add in your chopped onion. 



Sprinkle some salt over them to draw out the moisture. 



Saute for a couple of minutes. 



Meanwhile mince your garlic like this.



Add the minced garlic onto the bed of sauteing onions. 



After about a minute, add in the mushrooms. Saute this for a couple of minutes so the mushrooms release their moisture. 



Next go in the peppers. 



Just after about a minute of sauteing because we don't want the peppers to wilt completely, add in the Capers.



Give it a toss and add the crushed tomatoes. I just coarsely blended 4 tomatoes at home and added them to the pan. I prefer that over the canned ones anytime. Add in the cup of water as well. 



Season with salt and pepper



Add some spice with those beautiful chili flakes



Some dried oregano



A splash of balsamic vinegar.... this is what gives the whole dish a mellow earthy tang. I did not add any wine to my cacciatore, but the BV adds an extra dimension of flavour. 



Throw in the olives 



Now place those chicken pieces right on the top of the sauce. Don't waste those accumulated chicken juices. Pour them right in the pan. 



Tear a few basil leaves and cover the pan to let it simmer for 30 minutes or so



After 30 minutes,the oil should start to float on top around the edges. 



The chicken will look a little steamed by now. 




I gave it a quick 'dunk-your-pinky-in-taste-test' and realised it required a little more kick, so I added Italian seasoning on the top of the chicken. You can totally omit this if you want to.



Now carefully transfer this stew in a roasting pan (or use the same pan if its oven friendly) and place in a pre heated oven at 200C for 35-40 mins. Dust in your pinch of love



Magical things happened in the oven. The stew reduced. The sauce became darker and richer. The top layer turned slightly crusty..... mmmm mmm mmm.... all that goodness. Make sure you rotated the roasting pan in the oven to cook the chicken evenly all around. 


Garnish with basil leaves right before serving.



Here's a close up view of how gorgeously amazingly delicious this cacciatore was! 



I spooned it over a plate of pasta and It. Was. Heaven.



Look at how the meat was just falling apart. So juicy, tender and those gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous flavours. How blessed is this!! 



Indulge