This is a delicious rustic dish. It should be approached in a casual manner. When there are leftovers (and that’s an “if”…) many say it rocks better the second day after having time for flavors to meld.
Cacciatore refers to “in the style of the hunter” and usually incorporates mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. It also usually incorporates wine, sometimes, white or sometimes red, depending upon the desired result. Find your way in this recipe and make it your own depending upon your tastes. I tend to serve this over a creamy polenta and pair it with a side of broccoli rabe. The options are many.
Note: This has been written up as a slow cooker recipe. If you want do make it stovetop, use a heavy bottom pot such as a Dutch oven, and cook it over moderate heat at a simmer ( a light bubble… NOT a boil…. For about 60 + minutes until an instant read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees ).
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 Tbs. Kosher salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 lb., cut into 8 serving pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional if you’d like a slight kick of heat.. go for it!)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste)
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed plum tomatoes
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano
- 8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- Capers, drained (optional)
On a large plate, stir together the flour, the 1 Tbs. salt and the 1 1/2 tsp. pepper. Coat the chicken pieces evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken pieces, in batches if necessary, skin side down, and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 – 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook on the second side until lightly browned, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the chicken pieces to the slow cooker.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic (and crushed red pepper, if using) and sauté until they start to soften, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the tomtato paste and continue to incorporate it and “toast it” for about a minute or so. Pour in the wine and broth, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan’s bottom. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano (and capers, if using) and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 hours.
About 15 minutes before the dish is ready, stir in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 4 – 6 depending upon appetite.
Serving ideas: We serve this over creamy polenta and a side of broccoli rabe