Chicken Cacciatore
This delicous yet simple dish is an Italian favorite that offers many variations. Try toasted pine nuts, olives, or bell peppers in addition to or in place of the suggested ingredients. As it is, if you use fresh, good-quality ingredients, this will make a memorable entré for your family and/or friends and relatives. The garnishes, which include fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese, add tremendous flavor to the dish, but above all, the toasted fennel is probably the star of the show . . .

6 large chicken thighs, browned

2 28 oz tins diced tomatoes

large sweet onion, diced

4-6 roasted garlic cloves

lb sliced fresh mushrooms

lime, juiced

1 tbls Demerara sugar

1 tsp coarsely ground black peppercorns

1 tbls oregano

1 tsp dried basil

2 tbls fresh rosemary

1 tbls fennel seed, toasted

2 tsp salt

cup fresh basil, julienned, for garnish

cup red wine, added last

Find the RECIPE INDEX page . . .

Using a grill or a rack in the oven, brown the chicken and cook to eliminate excess fat; alternately, if you prefer chicken breasts to thighs, marinate in olive oil and garlic over night and then brown.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil or a combination of peanut oil and olive oil to cover bottom of pot. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and continue for another minute or two. Stir in the diced tomatoes (or equivalent diced fresh tomatoes) and bring just to the boiling point, then reduce to simmer.

Olive Oil flavored with fresh Basil leaves

Stir in the sugar, lime juice, and salt, then add the chicken pieces and mushrooms and cover, simmering for half an hour. Next, add a splash of red or white wine and the seasonings, which can be ground a bit using a mortar and pestle. Stir well and cook another 10-20 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked.

Serve over broad egg noodles or other pasta, with Eggplant Parmagiana and either red or white wine. Garnish with freshly torn or julienned basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese.

To julienne basil leaves, roll a number of leaves into a cigar shape and slice thinly to produce long thin strips of basil.

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