We The Italians | Italian cuisine: Cacciatore-Style Chicken

Italian cuisine: Cacciatore-Style Chicken

Italian cuisine: Cacciatore-Style Chicken

  • WTI Magazine #155 Sep 24, 2022
  • 525

Nearly every Italian family has their own recipe for Pollo alla cacciatora. In fact, many Italians forage mushrooms in the fall that can then be incorporated into this delicious dish. My own family gathers them from the Sila mountains in Calabria. The ritual of going into the woods and finding edible treasures is every bit as enticing as tasting this succulent stew is. 

In the United States, September is National Chicken Month, and the perfect time to add some new recipes to your repertoire!  Americans currently consume an average of 60 pounds of chicken per year, making it the nation's protein of choice. Because it’s so widely used, however, many people fall into chicken ruts - making the same dishes over and over again with dispirited results.

Luckily, tasty, time- honored recipes like this one offer good flavor and lots of nutrients. Chicken is a high-quality protein with a relatively low amount of mostly unsaturated fat that protects against heart disease. One three-ounce serving contains just 1 gram of saturated fat and less than 4 grams of total fat, yet is packed with 31 grams of protein, which is more than half of the daily recommended allowance for adult females.

This recipe is from Italian Recipes for Dummies, and Dr. Sante Laviola suggests pairing it with a bottle of Rosso Conero or similar. A full-bodied red wine with aromas of mature cherries and plums up to licorice and tobacco. The sip is full, warm, ample, and with a lasting finish. Buon appetito and happy fall to all!

Pollo alla cacciatora/Cacciatore-Style Chicken

PREP TIME: 10 MIN

COOK TIME: 60 MIN

YIELD: 4 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

          1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

          2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 8 pieces

          1/4 cup Amy Riolo Selections or other good-quality extra virgin olive oil

          1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary OR 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

          1 medium yellow onion, diced

          3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

          1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes, drained, and chopped

          1 cup dry sweet red wine

          2 cups diced tomatoes, or whole tomatoes, crushed

          1⁄8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

          1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

          1 dried bay leaf

          Crushed red chili flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place flour in a shallow dish. Coat the chicken liberally with flour, and shake off excess.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, making sure not to crowd the skillet (work in batches if necessary). Cook until chicken is golden on all sides, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium, and add the rosemary and onion. Cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to color and onion softens, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms, and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Return the chicken to the skillet, raise the heat to high, and add the wine. Cook and stir until the wine is almost all reduced, 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper, bay leaf, and crushed red chile flakes (if using). Bring the tomatoes to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet, leaving the lid slightly askew. Cook until the chicken is tender, 40-50 minutes, and reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Stir and turn the chicken a few times during cooking.

      6.When the chicken is cooked, discard bay leaf and serve.

TIP

Serve this fall favorite with crusty bread and salad for dinner or with Spaghetti al aglio e olio (see Chapter 8) for lunch.

VARY IT!

Rabbit and turkey can also be substituted for the chicken in this recipe.

Photo credits: From the Italian Recipes for Dummies Cookbook by Wendy Jo Peterson and Reminisce with Us