CHICKEN CACCIATORE

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The weather report says snow. So my mind goes to comfort. And at the end of my day it’s about quick comfort.

The name of this dish means “hunter’s stew” in Italian. Oooh, so fancy and international. Not really, I think those Italians must’ve hunted all day and then thrown what they killed in with what was in their (Italian) pantry.  All I know is that this is very fast, rustic and you can substitute the heck out of the ingredients.  I have nothing else to say. I’m hungry. Let’s get on it.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lb. chicken thigh, boneless and skinless; cut into bite sized pieces (use bone-in skin-on chicken if you want-just brown the skin on each side, add all of the other ingredients, cover and place the entire dish into oven @ 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours-bones don’t conduct heat well so it takes longer)

3 slices bacon (may substitute 2 oz. pancetta or prosciutto)

2 C. mushrooms; any type, cleaned and quartered (or you could use carrots, or sweet peppers, or potatoes, or chopped onions-get the idea?)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or any combo of dried herbs)

3 bay leaves

3 anchovies (optional-they add great salty flavor)

3 cloves garlic, crushed (or garlic powder)

Salt and pepper

1 large roast red pepper, crushed and ripped by hand (optional)

1/4 C. any olive, pitted and chopped (I like marinated mixed olives-black and green)

1 1/2 C. chopped tomatoes with juice

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 C. dry red wine (Chianti or Malbec works great)

PREPARATION

HEAT a large deep skillet over medium high heat.

ADD chicken pieces and bacon. Cook and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

ADD remaining ingredients and allow to come to a vigorous boil.

ADJUST heat to keep bubbling hard for 15 minutes uncovered until liquid is reduced. *Keep reducing until you’ve got a very thick sauce.*

REMOVE bay leaves and rosemary.

Serve over cauliflower puree, potato-parsnip puree or sweet potato mash. Or if you’re in a big freaking hurry just eat it as is. It’s so good. Enjoy dinner and bundle up!

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