Living my entire life in Vancouver, I have become accustomed to the city’s unpredictable weather conditions. Sunshine, rain, snow, hail..seriously, you name it. I have adjusted to the normality of carrying both an umbrella & a pair of shades in my tote bag.
Ironically, the ingredients in my food cabinets are just as random as those found in my purse. The weather is usually a daily determinant for what I will be cooking that day.
The weather was unpredictable today. We were blessed with sun in the morning and then blessed again (some may not agree) with snow in the early afternoon.
The snow made me crave something warm & comforting. Lucky for me, my friend Aaron had just sent me his family’s recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. This rich and hearty Italian classic was exactly what I was in the mood for.
I can say with confidence that this is hands down the best Chicken Cacciatore recipe I have ever come across. I am excited for all of you to give it a try. Let’s get started!
What you will need:
Chicken Cacciatore (serves 4)
8 pieces of chicken on the bone (choose pieces with bones like thighs)
12 slices of bacon – cut in pieces
3 medium sized onions or small handful of shallots (dice onions but use whole shallots)
Minced garlic (5 cloves)
Chopped parsley (optional for garnish)
1 cup of mushrooms ( sliced)
2 cans of diced tomato or 1 can of tomato and a bottle of ragu sauce
1/2 cup of black olives
2 bay leaves
Flour (plus a dash of your favorite herbs & spices)
1 chicken stock cube
First start by building layers of flavor by slicing & then cooking the bacon on medium heat until browned.
Once browned, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel. Be careful not to waste too much of the bacon fat in this process. It’s a delicacy in my kitchen.
I know it may be frowned upon for a Nutrition student but I can shamelessly say that I love bacon. I’m a true believer that anything and everything cooked in bacon is made that much better. Mens Humor had tweeted the other morning saying ” Imagine a world without bacon”. They immediately got the unfollow from @smgirlbigplate. We never joke about the potential absence of #bacon.
Once your bacon is cooked & transferred to another plate, you can start prepping your chicken by washing & drying each piece. Next combine about 1 cup of flour with a dash of parika, oregeno, garlic powder, salt & pepper. You can use whatever you got in your spice rack. Get creative.
Once your flour mixture is made, evenly coat each chicken piece with flour .
Next, transfer the coated chicken pieces to the hot skillet with the bacon fat & sear each side for about 3 minutes, until you get a nice golden brown crust.
Once seared, remove & transfer to a baking dish.
P.S. I had an hour workout this morning to earn the right for leaving the chicken skin intact. However, If you are watching your weight or cholesterol then I suggest removing the skin.
From here, we will be using the bacon fat again to cook our vegetables. First add the minced garlic and onions. Once the onions become slightly translucent, add in the mushrooms and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Reid, you really outdid yourself on the onions. Holt, you did good too buddy. Those mushroom are perfectly sliced.
You can now go ahead and add in the liquids(I added in one can of diced tomatoes & one can of Ragu pasta sauce), bayleaves, olives, block of chicken stock, & bacon. Bring to a boil.
Once at a boil, add in the chicken. Cover the pot & bring to a low simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Once the oil has risen to the top, the dish is ready. Garnish with lemon wedges & fresh parsley. We served our Chicken Cacciatore with rice & a refreshing cucumber salad that my friend Aaron made.
I want to give a big thanks & credit to some Top Chefs who helped me make this dish: Chinner, Daffy, Holt & Reid.