I've been trying to cook for myself more often, and for some reason I keep ending up with Italian food. Which is incredibly weird. Since I hate Italian food. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. I think bad Italian food is about as bad as it gets. It sits like a doughy brick in your stomach until you wish you could either die or purge yourself of it. Good Italian food, however, is welcome anytime. And I've had some good Italian food parading through my kitchen lately.
For some reason I've been obsessing about chicken cacciatore lately. I remember my mother making a simple version when we were kids, but it's been years and years since I've actually had any. Not sure where the idea came from. But who am I to question delicious fate? I'm one of those who likes her hunter-style dishes to have lots of goodies in them, so I added mushrooms and green peppers to Giada's recipe. And since I couldn't bring myself to pick every last pathetic leaf off my struggling basil plant, I threw in some dried basil. Delicious, satisfying, perfect for a cold night. I'm liking fate.
Pollo alla Cacciatora (Hunter-Style Chicken)
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch long strips
1 large green bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch long strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.
In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, sauté it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the same pan and sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers, oregano, and basil. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes longer.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Makes 4 servings