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Chicken Cacciatore

Updated: Jan 7


As the festive season rolls in, I'm reminded of my grandma’s kitchen, filled with the aroma of her legendary Chicken Cacciatore. This classic Italian stew, steeped in history, dates back to the Renaissance period. It was a dish born out of necessity, using whatever the hunter had available, hence its name 'Cacciatore', meaning 'hunter' in Italian.



My version, inspired by those warm family memories, has its own unique twist that makes it extra special.


This stew starts with the traditional ingredients: chicken, mushrooms, and tomatoes, creating that rich, hearty base we all love. But here’s a little twist I stumbled upon – while I initially planned to start with pancetta, I ended up adding it mid-way.



This 'happy mistake' turned out to be a flavor enhancer, with the pancetta deglazed in homemade stock adding an extra depth to the stew.


It’s moments like these in the kitchen that remind me of my grandma’s adaptability and her knack for turning simple ingredients into something extraordinary.



What I love most about this dish is its heartwarming simplicity and the way it brings people together, much like it did in my grandma’s kitchen. As the stew simmers and the flavors meld, it transforms into a comforting, soulful meal that's perfect for gathering around the table during the holidays, it's a nod to the past and a celebration of the present.


It's more than just a recipe; it's a piece of family history that I’m delighted to share with you all.


 

Ingredients:

(Serve 8)

  • Dried Mushrooms, 5

  • Green Bell Pepper, 1

  • Chicken Thigh Boneless, 4

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Mushroom Powder, Pinch

  • Grapeseed / Sunflower / Canola / Peanut Oil, 2 TBSP

  • High Quality Olive Oil, 2 TBSP

  • Yellow Onion Finely Sliced, 1

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Carrot Obliqued, 1

  • Unsalted Butter, 2 TBSP + 2 TBSP

  • Shiitake Mushrooms Finely Diced, 100g

  • Leek Coarsely Sliced, 1

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • Canned Tomatoes, 400g

  • White Wine, 100g

  • Italian Seasonings, 1 TSP

  • Bay Leaves, 2

  • Pancetta / Bacon Corsely Diced, 35g

  • Olives Preferably Kalamata, 100g

  • Parsley Coarsely Chopped, A Handful

 

Equipment:

  • Cast Iron Pot / Heavy Pot

  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Oven

 

Directions:

  1. Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in some hot water.

  2. Once the mushrooms are hydrated, remove the stems and finely dice.

  3. Reserve the mushroom liquid.

  4. Set it aside until ready to use.

  5. Wash and deseed the bell pepper.

  6. Broil in the oven until charred.

  7. Transfer into a bowl, cover and set aside to steam for 30 mins.

  8. Peel off the charred skins and coarsely chop.

  9. Set it aside until ready to use.

  10. Remove and reserve the skins of the chicken thigh.

  11. Season the chicken thigh well with salt, white pepper and mushroom powder.

  12. In a skillet over medium heat, add oil.

  13. Once the skillet is smoking hot, add in the chicken.

  14. Sear until both sides are browned.

  15. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate to rest.

  16. *I like to use my vegetable scraps and 350ml of water (including that reserved mushroom liquid) to make a simple stock. Simmer for 5 to 8 mins. Cover and steep for 5 mins. Drain and discard all the residue.*

  17. In a pot over medium heat, add olive oil.

  18. Once the olive oil is heated up, add onion.

  19. Season with salt and black pepper.

  20. Saute until translucent.

  21. Add in carrot and 2 TBSP of butter.

  22. Saute until well combined.

  23. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 mins or until the carrot is fork tender.

  24. Add in the hydrated mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and 2 TBSP of butter.

  25. Saute to combine well and until the mushrooms are lightly caramelized.

  26. Add in leek and garlic.

  27. Saute until aromatic.

  28. Add in the tomatoes and roasted bell pepper.

  29. *I like to rinse the can with a ladle of that simple stock and add to the pot.*

  30. Stir to combine well.

  31. Deglaze with the white wine.

  32. Add in the Italian seasonings and bay leaves.

  33. Stir to combine well.

  34. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 TBSP of oil.

  35. Once the oil is heated up, add in pancetta.

  36. Saute until crispy browned.

  37. Deglaze with a ladle of that simple stock.

  38. Add this pancetta mixture to the pot, along with the rest of the stock.

  39. Stir until well combined.

  40. *This is actually a mistake that I'd made because I should start the stew with the pancetta instead of onion. But it turns out that extra deglazing liquid actually adds so much more flavors.*

  41. Quarter the chicken thigh and add to the pot, along with all the juices.

  42. Stir to combine well and bring it up to a simmer.

  43. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 45 mins.

  44. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  45. *Only add water if necessary, as we are looking for a reduced chicken stew.*

  46. Continue cooking until the stew has reduced by 1/3 and the chicken is cooked thru'.

  47. *This step is optional: While the stew is cooking, lay the reserved chicken skins in between of 2 parchment paper on a baking tray. Place some weight, I'm using a skillet. Bake at 180 degree celsius or 355 fahrenheit for 15 to 18 mins or until the skins are crispy browned.*

  48. Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt, white pepper and mushroom powder.

  49. Add in olives and parsley.

  50. Give it a final stir.

  51. Transfer onto serving bowls.

  52. Garnish with more parsley and that crispy chicken skin (if using).

  53. Serve immediately.


Chickenlicious...


Perfect for this cold season...

 

Recipe Video:



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