Skillet Chicken Cacciatore (and Nepal relief)

Five days a week (usually) I try to post recipes that are fun, easy-to-make and delicious, focusing on recipes that my family and friends love. I've been watching the news all weekend about the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal and the terrible suffering that it's caused to thousands of innocent people. I thought that today, before we get started with the recipe, I could share with you some ways to help the victims of this tragedy. 

Here are some links to support organizations (I'm sure there are also other worthy ones--these are just a few that I researched) that are directly supporting the relief efforts:

1. UNICEF USA

https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/nepal-earthquake-help-children-now/24226?ms=sem_dig_2015_misc_20150425_google&initialms=sem_dig_2015_misc_20150425_google&gclid=CjwKEAjwmfKpBRC8tb3Mh5rs23ASJACWy1QPCJStRh_NSeDiSVIOR3CRw67e419ZEkm0uaL-2_fZHhoCvejw_wcB

2.  Oxfam--https://secure2.oxfamamerica.org/page/content/nepal_earthquake/

3.  CARE--http://care.org

4.  Save the Children--https://secure.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.9274575/k.FD90/Nepal_Earthquake_Childrens_Relief_Fund/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp

5.  British Red Cross--http://www.redcross.org.uk/nepalearthquake

Check these out and support an important cause. Now on to today's post...

Chicken cacciatore may be a winter dish, but it wasn't all that warm last week and I'd been meaning to make this all winter, so I gave it a whirl. Then the crazy sports and travel schedule interfered and we couldn't actually eat it on the day I made it. So into the fridge it went, but oh, how overjoyed everyone was when we came home the next night and reheated it with some leftover rice--it was so delicious and so comforting and so good to come home to, that I thought I would share it with you anyway, despite the out-of seasonness!!

Part of what gives this dish so much flavor is the fact that you roast the mushrooms first and then add them in later, so that the mushrooms are somewhat caramelized and more intensely flavorful. And while the mushrooms are roasting, you can prep everything else and start the chicken cooking. Speaking of which, I know that chicken cacciatore is generally made with dark meat, but my kids (and me too, I've probably brainwashed them after all these years--"you don't like dark meat, honey) are white meat people and even happier if it's boneless, so that's what I went with here--feel free to use whatever you prefer.

So basically you just brown the chicken in a skillet, remove it and then add onion, garlic, wine, chicken broth, chopped tomatoes and let it cook down and thicken, at which point you add the chicken back in and let the whole thing cook for another half an hour, adding back in the roasted mushrooms and some chopped fresh parsley. The chicken is moist, the sauce rich and full-bodied and because most everything comes together in one skillet, the cleanup and fuss factor are at a minimum. And to my mind, that makes a perfect start to the week!!


Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

Makes 4-6 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes; Cook Time:  45 minutes-1 hour

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed and halved 
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-2 1/2 pounds chicken (I used boneless breasts--feel free to use thighs or any combination of the two)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, including liquid
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

The Recipe

1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a small rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish, toss mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring several times during the process, until the mushrooms are tender and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, lowering heat to medium if necessary. Transfer chicken to a plate.

3.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or so, stirring often, until soft and translucent. Stirring constantly, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine, turn the heat up, and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for about 3 minutes, until wine has reduced by half. Lower the heat a bit, add in the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a low boil, simmering for about 10-12 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

4.  Add the chicken back into the pan and cook for another 20-25 minutes until chicken is completely cooked through. Turn chicken several times during the process. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley and cook for another couple of minutes so that everything is heated through. Serve immediately with rice or pasta to help mop up all that good sauce!!

5.  Chicken can be cooled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat in a pot on top of the stove or in a 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Note:  Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I left out the marjoram and cooked the chicken for much longer than the recipe indicated.

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