Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore Down on Sullivan Street

We had Chicken Cacciatore tonight. It was in regular rotation in my youth, much like The Stranger. Billy Joel's line from the Movin' Out/Anthony's Song really goes, "He works at Mister Cacciatore's down on Sullivan Street, across from the medical center..." The next part has the bit with the Cadillacacacacacac.

Anyway, the flavor of Chicken Cacciatore (pron. Catch-a-tory) is great, but I always hated the look of the blubbery chicken skin and bony stew. I use split breasts for this - the dish demands some bone, but they're kept in check. Remove the skin from the breast before cooking, but leave the meat on the bone to add flavor to the stewing sauce. You can easily remove the meat from the bone before plating. The resulting dish is an easy, healthy weeknight meal. Serve it atop pappardelle pasta. It rounds out the plate nicely.

Chicken Cacciatore
Print recipe only here

Serves 4
4 chicken breasts, on ribs
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine
One 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

Pappardelle - about 8-12 ounces

Remove skin from chicken breasts, rinse well and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot (I used a 4-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven) over low-medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and chicken pieces, flesh side down. Brown slightly, then turn over and brown on the other side.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid slightly ajar.

Cook the chicken in the simmering liquid, turning, basting, and smashing up tomatoes from time to time. Cook until the chicken is very tender, about 45 minutes.

Boil a large pot of water for the pappardelle and cook.

Taste the chicken for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. You can add some freshly chopped parsley, too. I didn't, but only because I seem to always have to justify parsley at my dinner table and it didn't seem worth the trouble.

Drain and toss pasta with olive oil, then portion on plates. Separate the chicken breasts from the rib bones if you like, and plate, topping with a generous ladleful of sauce. Serve and enjoy.


Mike S. said...

Heh. Y'know, with Chinatown encroaching on Little Italy, it never occurred to me before that Mr. Cacciatore's would be anything but a Dim Sum place...

Laura Bush said...

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