Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Really good dinner: Umbrian-Style Chicken alla Cacciatora

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As this recipe puts it:

Chicken alla cacciatora, or hunter’s style, is found all over Italy — but for a long time, tomatoes were not. Most American know the southern Italian version, with tomatoes, but this one is from Umbria, in the country’s center, and it’s made savory with lemon, vinegar, olives and rosemary instead of tomatoes. It’s lovely served with steamed greens dressed with a fruity olive oil, over homemade mashed potatoes or polenta.

Featured in: Umbria, Italy’s Best Kept Culinary Secret, Is Budding.

The Wife speculates that “hunter style” just means it’s cooked in a skillet over direct heat: no oven.

I made the recipe, and one step seems to me to be totally out of order: after the chicken is removed from the pan after it’s browned, then I did not return the chicken to the pan until I added the white wine. The recipe has you remove the chicken, wipe out skillet, return chicken. What??

And I really don’t see how you can caramelize the onions effectively if the chicken’s also in the pan. So I kept the chicken out of the pan until the wine was added. Thus for me the onions caramelized faster than the recipe shows, and the chicken cooked longer. (I went with 30 minutes.)

I went with 2.5 lbs, which was five good-sized bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Next time I’m just going to use 4 thighs: the extra sauce is all to the good. And I am also going to use a variety of pitted olives rather than olive with pits, mostly because it’s a pain to find a good place to put the pits.

The flavors are really good; next time I might a couple of anchovy fillets when I add the garlic, capers, etc.

UPDATE: However, take a look at these comments:

Letizia Mattiacci 15 days ago
Absolutely, the purpose is not to caramelize the onions per se, they will fall apart in the wine anyway. The aim of this method is to sauté the chicken with the aromatics, as a consequence the meat will absorb more flavor. When everything is fragrant, add the wine and simmer slowly, covered until fork tender and almost falling off the bone.

Letizia Mattiacci 15 days ago
Thank you so much MW, lovely to know you like my recipe. Indeed I don’t wipe the pan because I use organic chicken and it’s not fat. However I never pit the olives – this is quite normal in Italian cuisine – because the pit imparts a lovely woody flavor to the braise.

Letizia Mattiacci 16 days ago
How wonderful to see my recipe here! This is really a very simple dish and it’s one of the most popular at my cooking classes. I think the misunderstanding on timing is that if you are searing several pieces of chicken, you might need to do it in batches and it takes quite a bit of time. I always add the raw onions to the chicken and *never* pit the olives. The pit imparts a good flavor to braised meats. If you use organic chicken it will then simmer for a long time and not get overcooked.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 October 2016 at 2:15 pm

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