First, let me make something clear. My wife, Denise, is the cook in the family. Before I met her, if I wanted to eat, I cooked it myself. Since we’ve been together, I realize that I’m not as good as she is, so I’ve confined myself mostly to the grill. However, back in the day, I could rustle up a few things. One is my chicken cacciatore, which is actually an Italian hunter’s stew. My family usually ate it with rabbit, but it is also great with chicken. The “hunt” takes place in the local grocery store for chicken.
My introduction to non-frozen, haute cuisine came about back when my older kids were little and I was stuck at home watching them for the day. Yeah, I could make hamburgers on the grill, but I aspired to something better. There was a largely unused copy of “The Joy of Cooking” on a shelf in the kitchen, so I decided to peruse it. Almost everything had way more ingredients than were to be found in my farmhouse pantry, until I got to page 86, “Chicken Cacciatore”. Now, I’m about half Italian, so the call to try this was strong. Also, I had mostly all the stuff the recipe was calling for, so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t have pasta, so I made rice to go with it. My famously finicky kids didn’t turn up their noses, and a new family favorite was born.
When I met Denise, she quickly took full charge of the kitchen, and my caccetore recipe was lost to time. Until recently.
Funny thing. Cooking is like riding a bike. It came out to be just as good as when I made it way back when. Even my current finicky kid, Max, woofed it down. So here is my take on a classic fall dish. I hope you like it.
Rick’s Chicken Caccetore
Prep time is about 15 minutes. Finely dice the onions, and finely chop the parsley. Thin slice the mushrooms. The recipe calls for a large 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, but I open a second can and add some if it looks too thin and the pan can accommodate it.
You’ll want to use your largest skillet, preferably with vertical sides. Brown the chicken in olive oil in your large, shallow pan, then add the onions. The chicken should cover the bottom of the pan, and should take up about one-half the depth of the pan to have room for the sauce.
Saute the onions in the chicken for a few minutes turning the chicken over a couple of times to make sure it is nicely browned. Then splash in the wine. You really can’t use too much wine.
Add salt and pepper and some garlic powder until you get the house smelling pretty good
Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and mushrooms.
Sprinkle in the allspice and thyme, along with some more garlic
Let the whole thing cook down for 45 minutes.
Taste the sauce from time to time and salt to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the rice, and prepare the garnish
Mix the chopped parsley with garlic powder and lemon juice.
Spoon some rice on a plate, then the chicken and sauce. Top with the garnish. The recipe makes more than you and your family can eat, and that’s just as well as this tastes great the next day, too.
Save any sauce you have left as it makes a great spaghetti sauce.
I hope your family loves this as much as mine does!
In the Kitchen with Rick
- 4 lbs chicken pieces (breasts and thighs, bone in)
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 8oz mushrooms sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon powdered thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (separated)
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup parsley, minced fine
- Brown the chicken in olive oil in your large, shallow pan, then add the onions.
- Saute the onions in the chicken for a few minutes turning the chicken over a couple of times to make sure it is nicely browned.
- Then splash in the wine. You really can't use too much wine.
- Add salt and pepper and some garlic powder until you get the house smelling pretty good
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and mushrooms.
- Sprinkle in the allspice and thyme, along with some more garlic
- Let the whole thing cook down for 45 minutes.
- Taste the sauce from time to time and salt to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice, and prepare the garnish
- Mix the chopped parsley with garlic powder and lemon juice.
- That's it.
- Serve with rice or pasta and garnish with the parsley mixture.