Sometimes, even those who love to cook and create in the kitchen feel less than inspired. At times I’m buzzing with ideas, and then other times, just completely blank when thinking of new ways to excite the family at dinner time. This is when my husband reassuringly reminds me, ‘just keep it simple…no need to reinvent the wheel.’ My Chicken Cacciatore dish is one of those simple, rustic, everyday meals that is packed with flavour but requires very little effort. The work is predominantly done with a closed lid, in the oven. I love those meals! Don’t you?! My children love it because of the olives, so I am quite generous with my quantity. Feel free to scale them as you prefer.
Traditionally and Italian meal and known as, ‘Hunters Chicken Stew’, this meal looks very much like a hunter would sit down to it after a day out in the fields along with a well-earned bottle of red wine. Rustic, earthy and simple, with the sauce begging to be mopped up with a chunky slice of Italian bread. Prepped and cooked in an hour and a half, however, I don’t see why you couldn’t leave it at a low temperature in a slow cooker throughout the day. The chicken will be wonderfully juicy and literally melt in your mouth. If you try it, let me know how it works! Feel free to substitute black olives for green, white wine for red, cherry tomatoes for a can of tomatoes. It’s really quite forgiving.
One thing I will always advise is to use the best quality stock you can, or homemade stock is even better. Keep an accumulation of chicken bones in your freezer from your roast chicken dinners along with some chicken feet from your local butcher. Boil the bones with some chopped carrots, celery, bay leaves and seasoning for a good few hours, till it’s wonderful and flavoursome. Allow the stock to cool before storing in ice-cube trays, silicone muffin moulds or baby food moulds. By making a big batch, you have an excellent flavour base for virtually any meal that requires braising, for soups and even for risotto’s. Just pop in a frozen cube or two and you will definitely thank yourself for the time you took to make it.
I hope this meal is helpful when you too have a day where reinventing the ‘dinner wheel’ is the furthest thing from your mind. Enjoy! xxx
- 900g - 1kg chicken thighs
- 350g cherry tomatoes
- 200g black olives
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 4 small sticks of rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion - finely sliced or diced
- 3 cloves of garlic - finely sliced
- ¾ cup white wine
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Handful of parsley - chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 180℃.
- Combine the flour, dried oregano, paprika, salt & pepper in a medium bowl.
- In a casserole type dish, heat the olive oil on a medium to high heat. Flour each chicken thigh in the flour/herb mixture till lightly coated, shaking off the excess.
- Flour and fry all the chicken thighs in batches until they are all lightly browned on the outside (not completely cooked). Set the chicken aside.
- In the pot, fry the onion on a medium heat until soft (add some extra olive oil if too dry). Once soft, add the sliced garlic and fry till fragrant. Then add the chicken back into the pot, along with the olives, tomatoes and white wine. Stir and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes until the alcohol flavour evaporates and liquid is reduced by half.
- Add the rosemary sticks, chicken stock and a light seasoning of salt and pepper.
- Place a lid on the pot and braise in the oven for about an hour or until cooked and tender. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
- Serve with some roast or boiled potatoes, steamed greens and fresh bread.