• Chef Dylan

CLASSIC CHICKEN CACCIATORE



This one pot wonder boasts delicate flavours of garlic, capsicum, onions, herbs and plump olives all swimming in a rustic tomato sauce gently simmering away and soaking into those juicy chicken thighs until they fall off the bone. Quite simply melt in your mouth.

Cacciatore roughly translates in Italian as 'hunter'. This is because this rustic hearty dish was developed by early Italian hunters and was originally made with wild vegetables and herbs. The traditional meat was rabbit. The addition of tomatoes came much later when they were made fashionable to eat early in the 18th century.

Did you know? When the Conquistadors returned from the the newly found Americas they brought back with them a whole gamut of new and interesting vegetables. The tomato was one of them. The only problem was the nickname for the fruit. It became known as the “poison apple” because it was thought that the rich got sick and died after eating them, but the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates, which were high in lead content. Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made this connection between plate and poison at the time; the tomato was picked as the culprit and it stayed that way for 200 years!!


Cooking tomatoes such as in cacciatore sauce makes the fruit heart-healthier and boosts its cancer-fighting ability. The reason being cooking substantially raises the levels of beneficial compounds called phytochemicals. Lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red colour in tomatoes and other fruits, has long been known as a powerful antioxidant that decreases cancer and heart-disease risk.


This means not only is it healthy for you, it is also an easy mid week whip up that will be sure to be a winner with all the family.


PREP TIME: 20mins

COOKING TIME: 2 hrs

SERVINGS: 4/6


INGREDIENTS


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs

  • Salt and pepper, to season

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 6 cloves diced garlic

  • 1 small yellow capsicum, diced

  • 1 small red capsicum, diced

  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced

  • 300g mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata black olives

  • 2 tsp GAUCHO

  • 150 ml dry red wine

  • 2 X 400g tinned crushed tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 tbs chilli flakes

  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frypan . Crisp up chicken on both sides until golden, about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove from frypan and set aside.

  3. Heat a large casserole dish on medium heat.

  4. Add remaining oil to the pan and fry the onion until transparent, about 3-4 minutes.

  5. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the capsicum, carrot, mushrooms; cook for 5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.

  6. Add GAUCHO seasoning.

  7. Pour in the wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until wine is reduced, about 2 minutes.

FOR STOVE TOP


  1. Mix the chicken and the other ingredients together; cover with lid, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer (while stirring occasionally) for 40 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.

  2. Add in the olives, allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

FOR THE OVEN


  1. Transfer the covered casserole dish to a preheated oven at 180°C and cook for 1hr.

  2. Remove the lid, add in the olives and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone, and the sauce has reduced.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes and chill flakes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

  4. Return chicken pieces to the casserole and continue to cook over stove top or in the oven.


TO SERVE


Garnish with thyme and serve immediately with spaghetti, mashed potato or a bed of rice.