For the Love of Chicken, this One’s Delicious! by Margo Elfstrom
This dish goes back a long way for me. My mother made it for special occasions and for when company was coming. I remember the wonderful smells that hung in the kitchen, as the chicken cooked in it’s tangy, tomatoey goodness. A few weeks ago, I decided that it was time to make this delightful meal and immediately called my Mom. For those of you who know her (and to know her is definitely to love her), you also know that she has a house full of stuff. Yes, her one downfall is that she keeps everything and can find nothing.
I joke that anything that goes into that house somehow gets transferred to a different dimension, never to be seen in this one again. Unfortunately there’s usually a lot of truth in humor. When I asked her for her recipe, she informed me that it was somewhere around and she’d look for it. Two weeks later, she’s still looking. We all have our hang ups.
In my case, it’s the internet. I appreciate all of those people who keep telling me how smart I am but the truth is that my brain resides in a Mac laptop and without it….I shudder to think how I’d be able to fend for myself. When my mother failed to find her recipe, I fired up my trusty brain and found a recipe that makes me drool every time I think about it. I admit to having a girl crush on Giada De Laurentiis and if you’re going to create and Italian meal, you might as well find a recipe from a chef with strong Italian roots. The addition of capers to this sauce adds a lovely piquant twist and when I meet Giada, I’m going to thank her for putting together something that bested my Mom’s signature recipe.
This week, my new spice cabinet love is smoked paprika. I did add some to this recipe and love the additional flavor dimension that it brings with it, especially since I did a little extra caramelization on the sauce. Mea Culpa Giada but I somehow always have to have the last word…or in this case spice, it’s another character defect that I’m working on. All I can tell you is that this dish disappeared faster then my dog when I say the word “bath” and I have people begging for more. So now I’m surrounded by Chicken Cacciatore addicts, I guess my work here is done (thanks Giada….Love Ya)! Bon Appetito!
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
- 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (preferably low-sodium)
- 3 Tbs drained capers
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves (for garnish)
- Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to lightly coat them.
- In a large, heavy saute pan, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute lightly until just brown, about 5 minutes per side. You can do it in batches if necessary.
- Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until tender (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, capers and oregano and return the chicken to the pan (this is where I like to add a little more smoked paprika…up to you). Coat the chicken with the sauce and reduce sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through…30 min (approx) for breast pieces and 20 min for thighs.
- Using tongs, transfer chicken onto a platter. Boil the sauce until thickened (I like to let it cook just a little further to caramelize it) about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from the top of the sauce, pour over chicken and whatever side you’d like. Sprinkle with fresh basil and watch the smiles erupt!