Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Last night we were celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph, and as it was a feast day we broke from our "No Meat During Lent" fast.  This recipe was hands-down everyone's favorite dish.  It is typical of peasant food from southern Italy -inexpensive, simple, and delicious!

We served it over polenta*.

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4-6 in 30 minutes

Gluten-free: Roughly $2 per person if you use chicken breast, less expensive if you use thigh meat.
  • 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more
  • 6 boned chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 onion, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the salt, celery seeds, oregano, pepper, and pepper flakes in a plastic bag. Add the chicken strips, close the bag and shake to coat them in the mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the breast strips in a single layer. If you don't have a large enough pan, brown them in batches.

As they brown, transfer them to a dish. Add the onion, garlic, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until the mixture softens.

Raise the heat to high and pour in the wine and allow most of it to evaporate. Lower the heat and stir in the tomatoes and lemon juice. Return the chicken strips with their juices to the pan. Cover and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate. Reheat slowly.  Serve over polenta.

*Polenta instructions:  Bring 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth to a boil.  In a steady stream, slowly pour in one cup of polenta (cornmeal).  Continue stirring briskly until polenta grians start to swell - about 3 or 4 minutes.  Stir often, finished in 15 minutes.

From Ciao Italia Pronto!: 30-Minute Recipes from an Italian Kitchen, by Mary Ann Esposito (2005).

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