Giada’s Chicken Cacciatore

I’m an Irish girl who grew up on a meat-n-potatoes diet.  The Irish get a bad rap for not knowing their way around a kitchen, but in my family we have a lots of great cooks.  I always loved cooking, and baking, and eating.  As a mom, I’m all about trying to help my kids develop a love for lots of different foods, and in doing so I’ve realized I’ve had unfounded hangups about certain foods. 

Mushrooms.  Blech!
Capers.  No thanks!
Olives.  Nasty!

How can I expect my kids to be adventurous eaters when I myself won’t even eat a certain celebrated food because it happens to belong to the fungi family?

I have learned to really enjoy mushrooms by experimenting with them in my cooking.  Now that I have conquered the mushroom I’ve moved on to the caper.  Why dislike a caper?  It actually brings a briny, delicious flavor to a sauce that is quite delightful.  If you’re not a caper lover, and especially if you are, I beg you to try this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook Everyday Italian.  Delicioso!

Now time to get over olives. 

Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise

2 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c flour
3 T olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 t dried oregano
3/4 c dry white wine
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 T drained capers
1/4 c chopped fresh basil

{I substituted the bone-in chicken with 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts and the taste is still delicious.  Cooking any meat with bone in and skin on will give your dish more flavor but I opt for the low-fat version whenever possible.}

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 t each salt & pepper.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour to coat lightly.

In a large, heavy saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, saute chicken just until brown, 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and oregano to the same pan and saute over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Chop everything before you begin cooking and clean up your work space as you go.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth and capers.  Return chicken to pan and coat in sauce. 

Bring sauce to a simmer, and continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes for bone-in breasts and 30 minutes for thighs, and approximately 15 minutes for boneless breasts.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a platter.  If necessary, boil sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. 

{I serve this dish with thin spaghetti.  Cook according to directions and after draining, lightly coat with olive oil until chicken cacciatore is ready.}  When serving, spoon sauce over chicken and spaghetti and garnish with basil.

Bon appetit!