Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter's Chicken)

Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian. Most of you know my affinity for Italian cuisine and my growing love for my slow cooker. Well, I had a ton of tomato sauce leftover from last week's eggplant parm and 3 huge bone in chicken breasts in my freezer. With the insanely hot weather we are having in LA this week, I figured this was the best time to break out the slow cooker and use some stuff we already had. Even though I've been baking alot more recently, I still try to keep most of our dinners low-carb if I can, so that was one goal here, the second was to truly make it a one pot meal. Traditional cacciatore's have tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and occasionally peppers. Those are all great veggies that are of course in mine, but I wanted to add something else and decided on zucchini because the sis loves it and I felt it would be able to hold up in the slow cooker. See my recipe below:

Chicken Cacciatore
serves 4-6

3 large bone-in chicken breasts (approx 2 lbs, I'm not sure of the weight I used, but you can use bone in or boneless and I would say approx 2 lbs of chicken would be good)
1 large onion thinly sliced
3 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (you can also use canned tomatoes)
8 oz sliced Baby Bella mushroom
1 large green bell pepper cut into 1 inch chunks
2-3 zucchini cut into 1/2 thick slices
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp or more dried oregano (is you use canned tomatoes I would up the oregano to a tbsp)
2 tsps or more dried thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper (I didn't do this, but the sis and I both agreed it could use some heat)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Line the bottom of you slow cooker with the onions.
2. Layer the chicken breasts on top of the onions.
3. In a large bowl mix all the other ingredients and pour on top of the chicken.
4. Set slow cooker to cook on low for 7 hours. My chicken fell off the bone into big chunks making it easy to serve and eat. Just try to pull the bones before serving.

If you go the route of using canned tomatoes, I would first cut back the tomatoes to 2 1/2 cups and add 1 cup of red wine. Then mix 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic into the tomato-veggie mixture. I skipped these steps since there is garlic and wine already in my sauce.

This was a great hearty meal that would be good served over pasta or with potatoes or even with a nice crusty piece of bread. We actually enjoyed it solo with a bit of parmesan sprinkled on top. Using the slow cooker makes it something easy to have ready when you come home from work, but also good in the heat when you don't feel like cooking. If you try it let me know how you tweak the ingredients to suit your needs. Enjoy!

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