Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

This is a recipe that is super easy to throw together, as long as you have the time to let it simmer itself into a delicious stew-like consistency. Once the ingredients are assembled, it's very low maintenance, and all you'll have to do is make the rice towards the end of its cooking time. Andrew made this for me this weekend when I was down there visiting, and the recipe comes from my cousin Erin, who modified it from a recipe she found in The Joy of Cooking. It was delicious!! The original recipe calls for flour, but we omitted it from this recipe. I'd imagine, though, that cornstarch or another starch would work very well as a substitution in this recipe. Ours still thickened up without it, but we had to let it simmer uncovered for 20 or 30 minutes towards the end to get it to the consistency we wanted. So it's up to you - but either way, it will still taste great.
Chicken Cacciatore
¼ cup olive oil
½ medium onion, diced
2 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons flour or cornstarch (optional)
2 cloves garlic, diced or put through a press
1 cup wine
1 cup water
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 14.5 oz cans whole tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
4 bay leaves
½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
¼ tsp. sweet marjoram
2 small packages mushrooms, sliced 1 cup Jasmine rice, cooked as directed OR 1 cup brown rice penne, cooked as directed
Brown the chicken in the olive oil with the onion, garlic, and flour/cornstarch in a large pot. Add the wine and water. Stir in the tomato paste. Slice the whole tomatoes in the can and add them, juice and all, to the mixture. Stir in the spices. Stir in the mushrooms. Simmer covered for 1 – 1 ½ hours until the mixture thickens a bit. There should be no need to add more liquid.
Serve over white rice (Jasmine rice is the best - and it's not as sticky as regular white rice). I have not tried it this way, but I think this would also work well served over brown rice penne noodles.
Note: Make sure you add the salt to the rice despite the fact that the directions on the bag call it optional.

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