Aunt Suzy says . . .

This is the first time I’ve made Chicken Cacciatore, and I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten it.  The impetus for cooking this dish was a bottle of Italian wine called Bug Juice that I had purchased for my niece Katie’s visit over the weekend – that’s her in the photo slicing mushrooms. 

Katie has been called Katie-bug for as long as I can remember so it’s fun to find bug-related gifts for her.  I got the wine out to tell her how this red wine inspired the idea to cook this recipe and . . . . . lo and behold, the wine was not red!  It was a Moscato d’Asti, which will taste great this summer on the deck when the temp is 90 degrees! 🙂 We went ahead and cooked the Chicken Cacciatore anyway, and we were glad that we did.  It was tasty and made the house smell great, something that Joy of Cooking remarked about in their recipe.  I have since looked at recipes online and found there are many variations, which makes sense since the translation is “Hunter’s Chicken”.

We served this with “faux risotto” – tastes like risotto, but uses a traditional rice cooking method making it lots easier. We also served Arugula and Mint salad with sliced kumquats.  A nice meal for the end of Katie’s visit to Minneapolis.

Margaux says…

I’ve actually made this recipe twice now, and it’s one of my favorite chicken dishes.  I always use the skin-on, bone-in chicken parts, and always use oil-cured black olives.  I’ve served it both with linguine noodles as well as basmati rice, and love both, but I have to say that the rice is my favorite.  I love to pour the juice from the chicken dish over the rice… is so yummy!

Joy of Cooking Chicken Cacciatore

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (a combination of breasts and thighs) OR

3 – 3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken parts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry wine, red or white

8 ounces diced tomatoes, with juice

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup oil cured black or Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

AUNT SUZY’S NOTES ON INGREDIENTS:  The recipe called for bone-in/skin-on chicken parts, but I thought I’d try it with boneless and skinless for less fat.  It worked perfectly and likely was easier to eat!  You can see that Margaux uses the bone-in with great results. I used a Portuguese red wine, also perfect.  I used Crimini (baby bella) mushrooms – regular white button mushrooms will work as well. When I make it again, I will use an entire 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice.  I think this will work fine and will make sure I don’t have 7 ounces of tomatoes lurking in my fridge for who knows how long.  I will also try dusting the chicken with a little flour before browning.  I think this would add flavor, keep the chicken moist and thicken the sauce a little.

DIRECTIONS:  Cut the chicken into roughly 2-inch pieces.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Heat a large heavy skillet to medium-high and then coat with olive oil.  Add the chicken in small batches and brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and herbs and cook, stirring, until the onions start to soften and brown.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more until fragrant.  Return the chicken to the pan and add the wine.  Bring to a bubble and cook a couple of minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.  Add the tomatoes and chicken stock.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes.

Add the olives and mushrooms, bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered.  Remove the lid and bring to a boil and cook until juices are slightly thickened.

Aunt Suzy’s Faux Risotto

1 tablespoon each EV olive oil and unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, small dice

1 1/2 cups rice (I used Lundberg Wild Rice Blend)

2 2/3 cups chicken stock

pinch of saffron threads

1/2-3/4 cup finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the onion until soft, but don’t brown.  Add the rice and saute a few more minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is coated and has a nutty aroma.  Add the chicken stock and the saffron.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the liquid is absorbed.  Time will vary depending on the type of rice you use.  When the liquid is absorbed, add the salt and pepper and the cheese.  Stir to thoroughly blend and then turn into a serving bowl.