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How To Make The Best Healthy Chicken Cacciatore
My father is a fabulous cook, he is actually the one who inspired me to learn how to make healthy chicken cacciatore. The recipe is made completely from scratch, is full of flavor and very nutritious. I have learned that the only way to truly eat real whole food, is to cook for myself.
My healthy chicken cacciatore is kind of like a stew because it simmers for a few hours while the flavors come together. A one pot wonder of sorts, the longer it sits the better it tastes. So the secret to making a flavorful stew is to perfect your base because the taste of the dish stems from the start of the cooking process.
My ingredients include: 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 large carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large vidalia onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 large red pepper, 10oz of cremini mushrooms, 4 tablespoons capers, 4 bone in, skin on organic chicken breasts (which I've talked about is essential here), 1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 large can of tomato sauce and 1 large can of san marzano tomatoes, dried oregano, flat leaf parsley, flour, salt, pepper.
Here is how I put it all together: Start a stock pot on the stove top at medium to high heat with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. While that heats up, take your 4 chicken breasts, wash and pat them dry. On a large plate, put together 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of flour, mix in a 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1/4 tablespoon of pepper. Take each breast and roll into the flour mixture, completely covering all sides and shake the excess off.
Once your olive oil is heated, depending on the size of your stock pot and chicken breasts, place 2 or all 4 of them, skin down into the oil. Let the breasts get a deep dark brown color before flipping over, this should take about 15 minutes on the first side and 10 on the second. Make sure to keep an eye on the level of heat because you don't want to burn the outside, you want to brown it, which is a big part of the flavor of the healthy chicken cacciatore.
While your chicken breasts are browning, chop up your carrots (cut in 1/2 lengthwise and then chop into half moons), celery, onion, peppers, garlic and mushrooms. Start a small fry-pan with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and saute your mushrooms while the chicken is finishing up. Mushrooms have to be sauteed separately before being added to the cacciatore otherwise they will be chewy. Once they are sauteed, salt and pepper them for taste and put aside.
When your chicken breasts are nicely browned, pull them out of the stockpot and place onto a large plate, they won't be completely cooked through, but don't worry, we will be finishing them later. There will be some chicken fat and juices left in the bottom of the pot, leave it alone, it is full of flavor, so you should add your carrots and a little salt and pepper. Let the carrots cook for a few minutes since they take the longest, then add your celery, wait a few minutes, add your onions, wait a few minutes, and then your peppers and garlic. Once all of the vegetables have cooked down, add the cup of white wine (preferably pino grigio) and let the alcohol cook out, about 3-5 minutes. Next add the chicken stock (broth) which you can buy or make yourself, san marzano tomatoes, oregano, tomato sauce and capers. Let those ingredients come together (about 20 minutes) and then add your chicken breasts back in. While they finish cooking through, all the flavor from them will become part of your cacciatore sauce. It should take about 45 minutes for the chicken to cook through, pull them out and place back onto the plate. While you let them cool off, add the mushrooms to the sauce.
After the chicken breasts have cooled, pull off the skin and throw away, take a fork and pull the meat off of the bones and add to the sauce. The meat should be completely white, if you see any pinkness, put that breast back into the sauce until it cooks through. Once all of the chicken is pulled from the bones and added to the cacciatore, let simmer for about an hour, stir in chopped flat leaf parsley and you are finished. This dish will last for days and only gets better. I either serve it with a whole grain pasta or add white beans to it. This dish is one of my absolute favorites, healthy and delicious. If making healthy chicken cacciatore for a dinner party, it pairs perfectly with garlic bread for dipping. Enjoy!