Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Franco’s Chicken Cacciatore — So Easy…So Good

I’ve been home from Italy for two months and I’m still craving all the great meals Franco taught us how to make at Tuscookany

This is a photo I took in Italy of his super easy-to-make chicken cacciatore. I was hoping mine would turn out as good–it did! Although I cheated a bit. Franco had us start with whole chickens–complete with a few feathers that we had to torch off, but I had my butcher cut the bird into pieces. (I recommend you do the same.)

This is a dish you want to make a day ahead, refrigerate and reheat the next day to get the maximum flavor and tenderness. (Trust me on this..that was one of many questions I asked Franco as I was cooking).

  • 1 1/2 medium chickens, cut into pieces–(I used 2 legs, 2 thighs and 4 breasts cut in half for a total of 12 pieces)
  • 50 grams pancetta, (about 1 thick slice), diced
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks with the leaves, diced
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley
  • 300 grams tomatoes, diced (I used canned San Marzano, crushed)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 handfuls mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBS fresh sage, sliced
  • 4-5 TBS flour
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1/2 liter chicken broth (more if needed)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red chili flakes (optional)
  • 8 TBS olive oil 

Wash the chicken pieces and dry well. Rub all the pieces with Kosher salt, especially where the cuts have been made. Sprinkle with black pepper. Coat the chicken in flour. I put the flour in a large zip lock bag and added a few pieces of chicken at a time.

Heat a large pot–I used my biggest Le Crueset–add olive oil and the garlic. Brown the chicken pieces a few at a time. You don’t want to crowd the pan or they won’t brown as well.

Set aside the cooked pieces as you continue to brown all of them.

In the same pot, cook the pancetta until golden brown. Be careful that any extra flour in the pot doesn’t burn. I had to remove a little with a paper towel.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, sage, chili flakes and the whole bay leaf. Cook over medium heat until the onion is a nice golden brown.

Lay the chicken pieces over the onion mixture. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol steams off, about 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms at this point if you’re using them.

Add the tomatoes…

…and the broth. Stir, cover the dish and list it simmer or bake at 380 for at least an hour or until the meat falls off the bone.

I cooked mine for 1/2 hour and refrigerated it over night. 

I reheated it the next day for about an hour over low heat on the stove and it was delicious. Add a little more broth if it’s dry. Taste and season with salt and pepper. It’s amazing how much flavor this has. 

Make sure you pass around the extra sauce if anyone wants it.

Serve with an arugula/cannellini bean salad, crusty bread and a nice Italian wine. Oh…and make sure you say “Cheer’s, Franco!” as you enjoy his chicken recipe.

Categories: Chicken, Everything Italian, Main Dishes

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