Nothing screams comfort food like rustic, hearty chicken cacciatore. Every bite is an explosion of flavour in your mouth. This Italian dish is easy to make and requires very little effort, which makes it perfect for busy weeknight dinners (or hostel suppers when you can spare the time), and lazy Sundays. The chicken is left to braise in a sumptuous, mouth watering tomato-based sauce for about 30 minutes, and the resulting aromas will lift your spirits for hours!
This is a ‘hostel’ centric blog, which means, my recipes on the blog are going to be EXACTLY like how I make them- mistakes, messes and cheats included.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 chicken thighs/breasts
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1/3rd cup flour (to brown the chicken)
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes (oven-roasted tomatoes are great too)
- 2 bell peppers (also called capsicum) preferably red and yellow
- 2 cups of fresh button mushrooms, cut in quarters
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 3/4th cup of water
- 3/4th cup chicken stock/vegetable stock/white wine
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced (Use 3 if the pods are large)
- 3 tablespoons of drained capers
- 2 tablespoons of black pitted olives
- 1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
- 1/2 a teaspoon of dried oregano
- freshly chopped basil (to taste)
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (adjust according to taste
Place your chicken, flour, salt and pepper in a zip lock bag, and shake gently until all the pieces are well coated. If you’re lucky enough to be in a fully functional kitchen (can’t wait for the holidays) then just rub all the ingredients together in a bowl.
In a large non stick pan, add the chicken and saute until golden brown, then remove the pieces and set aside till needed. Add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms into the same pan and saute until the vegetables have softened. Deglaze with wine (I used stock, because tut tut, hostel rules) or stock and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the can of tomatoes, water, olives, and capers.
Nestle the chicken back into the pot and sprinkle over oregano and chili flakes to your taste. Let the chicken braise in the sauce for about half an hour over low heat until the meat is cooked through. If the sauce hasn’t thickened enough, simply remove the chicken from the pan and simmer the sauce till it reaches the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Remove any excess fat from the sauce, and serve over the chicken with a side of mash and buttered veggies. Sprinkle over a few generous sprigs of basil and, Voilà! Bon appetit!