Monday, August 15, 2011

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore

When I was a teenager, my mother made Chicken Cacciatore almost once a week because it was a family favorite.  It was a very satisfying meal that was done all in one pot.  This Italian dish (aptly named Hunter's Style) is a delicious tomato basted stew that is loaded with chicken and a lot of vegetables.  I love one pot dishes that deliver not only comfort but nutrition.  I call this dish a real winner in my book.

1 1/2 lbs of chicken cut into bite-size pieces *See note
1 cup of bell pepper diced
1 cup of celery diced
1 cup of diced zucchini
1 cup of diced white button mushroom
1 large onion diced
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of red chili flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp of red chili powder (or to taste)
4-5 cloves of garlic grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups of chicken stock
28oz can of diced tomato
1 Tbs of tomato paste
1 Tbs of brown sugar
1 large handful of fresh basil chopped
1 small handful of Italian Parsley chopped

Prior to cooking, get all vegetables diced and prepared.  Cut chicken to bite size pieces and dredge in flour seasoned with some salt and pepper.
Note:  You can use boneless cuts of meat or bone it meat. Bone-in will take a little longer to cook.

In a large heavy based pot, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil on medium-high heat.  Once heated, add the chicken (in batches) and brown well.  Transfer browned meat to plate. 

Add 1 more Tbs of olive oil into pan (if necessary) and saute all the vegetables for several minutes.

Next add the grated garlic and saute with vegetables for another few minutes.

Now add the dried basil, oregano, red chili flakes and powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Saute with vegetables for 1-2 minutes.

Add the 1 Tbs of tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes (until fragrant).

Add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of chicken stock.  Stir well and taste for seasoning.

Finally add the meat back into the pot and allow to simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until everything is well cooked. 

Just before serving stir in the fresh basil and Italian Parsley. 

Serves 5-6 people. Serve with rice or noodles. Enjoy