Comfort food comes in many forms, rich, cheesy, starchy, sweet, and I love them all.
One of my favorites is tender, melt-in-your-mouth braised chicken.
It is a universal dish, every culture has one and because chicken is so adaptable the combinations are endless.
All you need to do is give it a good flavor base of vegetables—onions, carrots, and celery are a decent place to start.
I think Cacciatore needs to have mushrooms too, it does mean hunter’s chicken and what hunter would not pick up a few wild mushrooms if he saw them?
Then you need to season the chicken very generously. This not only lends flavor to the chicken, but the entire dish—it also never hurts to add bacon either.
Next make sure you get your pan really hot and use a lot of oil to brown the chicken pieces. The oil should be visibly shimmering and you want to put the chicken skin side down first to render any fat that is on the chicken skin.
After browning the chicken remove it from the pan and give the vegetables enough time to brown and develop flavor—don’t forget to season them too.
Lastly, the chicken needs to cook long enough to become very tender, so give it at lest 30 minutes, but if you let it cook longer, that’s okay too—an hour will only meld the flavors even more.
CHICKEN CACCIATORE RECIPE
- 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces
- 5 to 6 strips thick-cut bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot large dice
- 2 medium carrots large dice
- 1 celery stalk large dice
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 2 cups stock broth or water
- Generously season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, set aside.
- Cook bacon until browned and crisp over medium heat in a large frying pan or shallow dutch oven. Remove from pan and add olive oil. Increase heat to medium-high. Once shimmering, add half of the chicken pieces and cook on one side until well browned. Flip and repeat on other side, remove from pan to a clean plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Add shallots, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown. Add paprika and stir to incorporate into veggies. Add red wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add tomatoes, capers, stock, and bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook until chicken is tender, at least 30 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.