Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore Pronto for a Last Minute Holiday Recipes #SundaySupper

Chicken Cacciatore Pronto for a Last Minute Holiday Recipes #SundaySupper

If I could be candid for a moment. I was going to publish this dish separately until I saw this week's #SundaySupper theme of Last Minute Holiday Meals, hosted by T.R. of Gluten Free Crumbley and Wendy of Wholistic Woman. I think it fits in nicely with the theme because it's a braised dish which is perfect for the weather, but it's chicken so it's not simmering for hours which means it can be prepared quickly.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I have become very familiar with this dish over the years. If memory serves me correctly, the first time I prepared it was for a dinner party I hosted. At the time, I was still a novice cook that only knew to follow recipe instructions, but kept coming back to it once I realized how well thought out the dish is. It ended up having a profound influence on the direction of my cooking style.

Dish Details

I have adapted it over time but the source recipe can be found on page 166 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking By Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher.


1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup tomato purée
1 cup chicken stock


1. Finish the mise en place. Place the dried porcini in a small bowl and pour the hot water over them and set aside for 30 minutes so the mushrooms rehydrate. While you're waiting, I recommend puréeing the tomatoes, mincing garlic and chopping parsley. Once the mushrooms are rehydrated lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon and chop, then set aside to reserve. Pass the water in which the mushrooms were soaked through a double layer of paper towels, then set aside and reserve.

2. Sear the chicken. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (approximately 1 teaspoon) and place over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then place in the skillet, skin side down, to sear once the olive oil starts to smoke until well browned, approximately eight to ten minutes. Turn and sear on the second side, approximately two minutes, then remove from the skillet and set aside.

3. Layer flavor and simmer. Drain all but one tablespoon of the oil from the skillet and return to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until it starts to color, then two tablespoons parsley and reserved porcini, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomato purée, chicken stock and reserved mushroom broth, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen any fond. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked through, approximately thirty minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet, then raise the temperature to high, boiling the sauce to reduce and thicken, approximately five minutes. To serve spoon the sauce on the plate and top with chicken and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Final Thoughts

The word cacciatore is Italian for hunter and is considered a rustic dish out of central Italy that is commonly made with onions, tomatoes mushrooms and bell peppers, as I've previously demonstrated, however I like this version for extracting such incredible flavor from basic ingredients and, as I said above, it cooks quickly. Possibly the only ingredient that might seem exotic is the dried mushrooms, however I have found that they are readily available at most supermarkets. Chef Chiarello notes in his book that thighs are the part of the chicken that is best for braising because they're moister and, therefore, don't dry out as easily as say breast meat, for example. This dish taught me how to layer flavors and opened my mind to the concept of a mirepoix. I also find the utilization of the water used to soak the dried porcini in the braising fluid quite innovative.

I've prepared an entrée here, but don't miss the many other last minute holiday recipes of varying courses prepared for this week's #SundaySupper, which are below.

Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes #SundaySupper by Sunday Supper Movement

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