One of the reasons I get excited about the weekend is because it means that I finally have time to braise something. Yay! Of course I sometimes will break it down in stages and get ‘er done during the week but it is so much more satisfying to create a braised dish start to finish all in the same day. Chicken cacciatore ranks up there as one of my favorites. My mom would often prepare chicken cacciatore on Sundays and after coming home from church the house would be filled with the aroma of garlic, tomatoes, and goodness. She would make us wait until supper to eat it and by that time it would smell so good that even though I was the pickiest eater alive even I could not resist having a little drizzle of the sauce on my usually plain spaghetti. Over the years my pickiness has obviously abated somewhat and I now eat this dish with such gusto that I always regret not making a larger batch. I love to cook it all year round. In the summer my garden yields most of the necessary ingredients (the ones I might lack I can usually finagle from my friends mom’s garden out in Ridgeville). In the winter I make it to use up my canned tomatoes and dried herbs. MMMmmmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about this. Alright, without further adieu, here it is. My very own recipe for the best chicken cacciatore on the planet. If you have a better recipe we’ll just have to fight it out. I don’t mind making two test batches. More for me to eat!
4 chicken legs or 6 thighs (skin on, backbone off)
1/2 cup flour
Salt and Pepper
Cooking oil as needed
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle wine, maybe two. red or white. whatever is available.
2 cups diced canned tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
good pinch each of dried parsley, thyme, basil and oregano
cooked pasta to serve with
crusty bread and butter to really round the meal out.
Toss the chicken in a bowl with flour and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper until well coated. Heat up a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces on at a time taking care not to crowd the pan overly much. When the pieces are well browned remove them to a plate. Use the same pan to saute the veg and garlic until it is cooked about halfway through. Place the tomatoes and tomato paste in a slow cooker. Add the sauteed veg. Deglaze the pan with a good few glugs of wine. Pour yourself a glass. Stir everything up then nestle the chicken thighs into the mixture. Sprinkle a schwak of herbs over everything. Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker to high heat for at least four hours. Sit down and drink the rest of the bottle of wine. Cook the noodles at some point. Lazily. Check on the chicken in a little while. Maybe take the lid off for the last hour of cooking to let the mixture reduce a little bit. When the chicken is very tender carefully remove it from the pot of the slow cooker. Toss the noodles in with the sauce and give it a good stir. Open a second bottle of wine. Eat and drink with gusto.