My first adventure with preparing chicken cacciatore was with a recipe on a package of Golden Grain rotelle. That was years ago and it was decent tasting. But I have evolved. The other day I got an irresistible urge to make something cacciatore-ish, so I looked up a recipe on the La Cucina Italiana site. There wasn’t enough liquid to suit me so I sort of did whatever I wanted, as I am inclined to do. I wanted plenty of sauce for pasta, or polenta, or whatever. Of course authentic cacciatore is made with rabbit, and as I didn’t want to chase down a cottontail I went with chicken thighs.
6 chicken thighs, skinned, salted and peppered
1 tbs oil
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup chopped onions
1 diced carrot
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs flour
pinch red pepper flakes
1 or more cups low sodium chicken broth
8 oz pasta of your choice boiled in salted water
Brown thighs in oil, remove from pan. Pour off most of fat. Cook onions and carrots until tender, no problem if there is caramelization. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Stir in flour and cook for a minute or two. Add wine and cook down a bit (I actually poured in a big glug without measuring). Put chicken back in the pan with all accumulated juices and add chicken broth as needed to partially cover and make plenty of sauce. Bring to a boil and then cover tightly. You can finish cooking as per your preference, on top of the stove on low or in the oven at 350° for about 45 minutes or until tender. I like the meet falling off the bone. In the last 15 minutes of cooking add fresh herbs like oregano or rosemary. Not too much, just a couple of sprigs.
Serve with freshly cooked pasta. You can goose up the flavor with porcini powder cooked in the sauce if you have it. Or add some diced and cooked pancetta.How about some sliced mushrooms? Go wild. Pretend you’re a mighty hunter; after all, cacciatore is a hunter’s dish.