CHICKEN CACCIATORE (a healthier version)
Chicken Cacciatore….Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian!
“Happy New Year” in our house means clean up time! Clean up the house, get organized and clean up our eating! You can’t feed a family of 6 on lean cuisines which means I have to get my brain a thinkin! How in the world can I please the palate of a 3 year old, 4 year old, two 8 year olds and a hungry husband? Not only do I have to please their palates, but I also have to please their health and their hearts…not to mention dare I say..my growing waistline!!! I decided to take some of my “go to” Italian recipes and clean them up a bit for the New Year! First on my menu….Chicken Cacciatore!
“Pollo” aka “Chicken” and “Cacciatore” aka “hunter” in Italian. Put them together and what do ya got…. Chicken Cacciatore! When talking Italian cuisine “cacciatore” refers to a meal prepared “hunter style” with tomatoes, onions, herbs, bell peppers, mushrooms and most of the time wine. Cacciatore in Italy is made with braised chicken or rabbit. There are many different variations of Chicken Cacciatore based on the different regions of Italy and the different ingredients available in each region. Southern Italy usually includes red wine in their dish while Northern Italian cooks will use a white wine. I usually like to use bone in and skin on chicken pieces for my Chicken Cacciatore which I salt & pepper and then lightly dredge in flour before browning on all sides. Again…this is the new year…new you recipe so I swapped in boneless & skinless chicken thighs and skipped the flour step. You can even take this a bit healthier and use boneless/skinless chicken breasts. I go really light on the olive oil, add a bit of white wine, and toss in the vegies: onions, garlic, tri colored peppers, mushrooms. I added to the flavor of the dish by adding both Kalamata olives and green olives. Sometimes I get a bit crazy and I will add in some artichoke hearts. In the end this “cleaned up” Chicken Cacciatore was awesome! Even though it lacked in fat content & calories it did not lack in flavor!
- 4 lbs. boneless/ skinless chicken thighs
- Salt & pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 2 onions, halved and then sliced
- 5-6 assorted colored bell peppers (I prefer the tri color or red, orange and yellow, but you can add some green pepper too), cut into ½ inch strips
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (12 oz.) can diced or chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ - 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- ½ cup Spanish green olives
- 1 ½ cups button mushrooms, halved
- Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep sided skillet.
- Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place chicken in skillet and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from pan, place on plate and set aside.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add all peppers and sauté until peppers and onions are slightly softened.
- Add white wine and simmer for about 5 minutes. Deglazing (scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon or spatula) so that you get all the good "bits" stuck to the bottom of skillet.
- Add crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes,chicken broth, oregano and basil. Stir well. Add chicken pieces back into skillet. Simmer for about 20 minutes with top on.
- Add Kalamata olives, green olives and mushrooms. Stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Take skillet off heat. Add fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve on top of your favorite egg noodles or GF noodles or on top of polenta.
- Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a fresh slice of crusty Italian bread.
- Can serve on top of egg noodles or polenta (brown rice pasta if need Gluten Free or even on top of a bed of spinach or broccoli)
- ** Please remember that I cook for 6 people - this recipe serves 12 as I plan for left overs the next night. You can cut the recipe in half.