Thursday, June 09, 2005

Today's Lunch: Chicken Cacciatore

It has been rainy all day today so I have spent the day inside cooking. This was great served over linguini. The recipe comes from MPR's The Splendid Table.

Chicken Cacciatore
From The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook by Marian Burros and Lois Levine.

8 to 10 Servings

In the original Elegant but Easy, this recipe called for canned tomato sauce and onions that had not been browned. It used an assortment of herbs. For a pure, simple, and fresh-tasting dish with robust old-fashioned flavor, this version is superior. You may need two pans for this amount of chicken; it would make sense to cook the breasts in one pan and the thighs in another. You could also do this in batches. If you’re concerned about fat and calories, just don’t eat the skin. Serve the cacciatore with spaghetti.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced onions, about 1 pound
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 pounds bone-in chicken breasts and thighs (in any ratio you prefer)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups low-sodium canned Italian tomatoes, crushed

1. In a skillet or two skillets large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until they are well browned; add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Push the onions and garlic to the side and add the chicken, in one layer, skin side down, and cook over medium-high heat until the pieces are well browned on both sides. Place the onions and garlic on top of the chicken as the chicken browns.

3. Season with salt and pepper and add the wine. Briskly simmer the wine until it is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, another 5 to 7 minutes for the breasts; remove the breasts and continue cooking the thighs another 5 to 7 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, thin with a little water.

4. Refrigerate or freeze, well wrapped.

5. To serve, let the dish return to room temperature and reheat it in a 325° oven, well covered with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes, until heated through, or heat in the microwave. Add a little water as necessary to keep the sauce from getting too thick.

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