Chicken Cacciatore or pollo alla cacciatora as it's known in Italy is sometimes made with rabbit - Cacciatore translating to hunter in English. This dish is typical of traditional game-keeper fare. The meat or chicken would traditionally be served on the bone with the skin left on. We chose to remove the skin in the interests of better health but have to admit that the traditional method tastes better.
Mushrooms of choice would be wild or field mushrooms.
We've been experimenting with thermal cooking courtesy the 'Shuttle Chef' a slow cooker made by Thermos. We're not big fans of cooking chicken in electric slow cookers - it's all too easy to turn the poultry into soup. However the Shuttle Chef delivers a gentler method of cooking which means even after 7 hours of slow cooking the meat and vegetables retain their shape and most importantly - taste.
This recipe easily adjusts to being cooked on a household stovetop - simply cover and simmer for 1 hour
Chicken Cacciatore is usually served with a crusty Italian bread or some pasta and of course, some sharp Italian cheese.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
6 chicken thighs
2 cups of sliced field mushrooms
1 large red onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
150g sliced pancetta, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
¾ cup white wine
1½ cups of finely diced tomatoes
½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¾ cup chicken stock
20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons continental parsley
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
a good pinch of rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a smear of olive oil in the bottom cooking pot and brown the mushrooms in batches. Remove and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter and brown the chicken both sides. Remove and set aside.
Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until crisp.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is transparent.
Add the carrots and celery and sauté for another 3 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the tomatoes.
Blend in the chicken stock, white wine and vinegar.
Now add all the herbs and the Kalamata olives. Season with salt and plenty of fresh pepper.
Bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered for 12 minutes. If you're cooking on a stovetop cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
If you're using a Shuttle Chef insert the cooking pot into the outer pot and insert the Bain Marie, filled with boiling water.
Close the lid and cook for a minimum of three hours.
Our review of the Shuttle Chef thermal cooker
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