Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore Stew

Perhaps not a classic Cacciatore, but I simply adore this recipe. Store chicken in the leftover stewed veggies and sauce, and the next day you have the makings of an awesome hot sandwich on garlic bread!

I suppose you could use boneless chicken thighs, but I think the bone-in thighs and skin gives a lot of flavor to the wonderfully rich sauce and vegetables as everything simmers in the same pot.

You can add cooked pasta at the end, but I didn't feel this need it. It was a delicious and very filling meal without pasta. Chicken thighs do tend to get a little more greasy, but as the sauce reduces and as it cools, that really isn't noticeable much. And the next day, just spoon off the thickened fat on top of the sauce before you heat it up.

Speaking of the next day...this is so incredibly yummy the next day. Because the thighs are stored in the veggies and sauce, they stay moist.
A bit messy to dig out and debone for a sandwich, but SO worth it! I deboned a thigh, added some veggie and sauce, warmed up while a cut a fat piece of sourdough bread (or you could use sub bun, hamburger bun, hotdog bun, anything that is a bit more sturdy than regular white store bought bread), lightly spread with evoo or butter, sprinkle on some garlic powder, add some cheese like parmesan and/or mozzarella slices, add the warm sauce and bake, fry in a pan with a heavier pan on top of it until crisp and golden, or stick into your old George Foreman grill like I did and have a "panini." 

I love making recipes that can be made into something else the next day, or are even better the next day! Give me a day off, so to speak, with an awesome dinner!

Crockpotters, I bet this would be a great crock recipe!
Enough chat, here's the recipe!

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  •  1/2 cup chopped white onion        
  • 1/2 cup chopped medium carrot
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • small - medium zucchini, sliced in quarter moons
  • 4 oz  Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Asiago cheese

Add a small amount of evoo to a medium-hot dutch oven, or large deep-sided pan.  Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.  Brown well on both sides, don't worry the chicken isn't all the way done, it'll cook up in the stew.

When chicken is a nice golden color on both sides, remove from pan, reduce heat to medium, and add the onions, carrots, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a pinch (about 1/4 tsp) of red pepper flakes, crushing them between your fingertips as you sprinkle them.
Cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes.

Add zucchini and mushrooms, another small pinch of salt and pepper and the other 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, crushed between your fingertips, and half of the basil. 
Cook and stir over medium heat until mushrooms begin to soften.

With a small grater, grate the garlic cloves down into the vegetables. If you don't have a grater with a small side, mince the garlic up super tiny.

Add tomato paste and balsamic vinegar and stir around the veggies real well. Add chicken stock, stirring until tomato paste is incorporated into the chicken stock.

Drain some of the tomato juice from the can into the pot of vegetables and, using your hands, reach into the hand and crush the tomatoes up. Empty can of crushed tomatoes into the pot.

Add the rest of the basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed, and add chicken back into pot.
Cook with a lid tilted to let a bit of steam escape during cooking, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 -45 minutes, taking the lid off the last 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, add cheeses and stir carefully to incorporate cheese into the stew. Let stand about 10 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread and parmesan cheese to pass!

Note: Resist the urge to add things to thicken it up, because the next day it'll be VERY thick. Thick enough to use the stew as a sauce on your panini bread! oooooooooooooooooo so good!

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