Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta

Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta

I love this meal served over polenta or pasta but I make it rather infrequently because it takes quite a bit of time to make.  Especially when you slow cook it the way I usually do. This past weekend I decided to try this recipe that is prepared using a slow-cooker.  By using boneless chicken thighs, the chicken doesn’t need all day to become falling apart tender.  A cooking time of 4 – 5 hours is perfect.

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Starting around noon, I browned the chicken as the recipe directs, made the sauce and put it all in the slow cooker and in about 4 hours it had reached saucy perfection, and the aroma in my kitchen was wonderful.  I continued with the “quick” approach and made instant polenta to serve the cacciatore over.  That  along with an inventive green salad and a glass of wine was a perfect ending to a busy weekend.

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When I make polenta I usually use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Polenta which takes about 30 minutes to cook, and requires constant attention and stirring.  This time I opted for  Scalafani Instant Polenta, that cooks in only 3 minutes.  You still need to stir it constantly, but for a much shorter time.

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Hint:  when making polenta always use a long handled spoon ( wooden is best) for stirring, because as it thickens it will “pop” as it boils and can burn your hands. (Ask me how I know.)

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Yield:   Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red or white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree ( 1 6-ounce can tomato paste)IMG_6906
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat pan.  Add half of chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

Browning the chicken.

Browning the chicken.

Place chicken in a 6-quart electric slow cooker.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.  Reduce heat to medium.

3.  Add a drizzle more oil if necessary.  Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, sauté 4 minutes.

Saute onions, pepper and garlic.

Saute onions, pepper and garlic.

Add wine and tomato puree, stirring to blend ingredients.

Add puree and wine.

Add puree and wine.

Bring to a simmer, adding diced tomatoes, capers, salt , peppers, and oregano.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Heat through.  Add to slow cooker, pouring over chicken.

4.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Slow-cooker chicken cacciatore.

Slow-cooker chicken cacciatore.

.Serve it over polenta or pasta.

Serve it over polenta or pasta.

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If you have leftovers, they can be easily transformed into soup:  Shred the chicken, and place in a pot with sauce.  Add unsalted chicken stock, diced zucchini, and diced carrots;  simmer until veggies are tender. Add in any leftover pasta at the end.  Serve with a little grated cheese on top.      One meal becomes two.  YUM!

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

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4 responses

  1. Hey Carolyn, this sounds like a(nother) great dish: )
    You mentioned the large amount of time required here and got me thinking… What if you made the sauce ahead, still in your slowcooker, but in double or triple-batch sizes, and then divide and freeze in meal-sized portions? That way, you could thaw the sauce while browning your chicken parts and finish the dish in the oven (a là Smothered Chicken) while the pasta cooks? Just a thought; )

    Like

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