Simple Chicken Cacciatora

This past year at the holidays, I received a cookbook from a friend (Hi Morgan!) Last weekend I spent several hours leisurely perusing the many recipes and imagining how good they would all taste if only I would ever take the time to actually make them. This weekend, I tried my hand at the first one. This recipe isn’t a traditional cacciatora in that it’s oven-roasted rather than braised; frankly, however, this method seems easier to me so I’m likely to make it on any given night of the week rather than one that requires multiple steps. This recipe is tart and yet has it’s own richness. Joe and I ate the whole thing.

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Oven-Roasted Chicken Cacciatora (adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper)

1.5 – 2 lbs chicken breasts*
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 slices cacciatore or Genoa or hard salami, cut into 1-inch squares
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large fresh tomato (or 3 drained canned ones), coarse chopped
1 medium to large red onion, coarse chopped
1/2 tsp rosemary**
1 1/2 tsp sage
4-6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 c dry red wine (I used pinot noir)
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
juice of 1 lemon

* The original recipe calls for 2 1/2 to 3 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – about 8 thighs. I’m not enthusiastic about dark meat and Joe won’t eat it at all, so I used boneless chicken breasts and adjusted the cooking time. If using bone-in, skin-on thighs, roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then flip and roast for another 10-15.
** If using fresh herbs instead of dried replace these measurements with following: the leaves from two 4-inch sprigs of rosemary and 10 sage leaves, torn.

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Preheat the oven to 400° F. Arrange the chicken on a large, shallow roasting pan and scatter all the ingredients except the lemon juice over the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan juices. Turn the chicken pieces over and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes, basting and turning occasionally. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°.

Turn all the contents of the pan into a big bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Adjust seasonings as desired and then serve hot with a piece of crusty bread. The bread is delicious when it gets to soak up some of the juices.

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