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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
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Slow cooked meals are easy and delicious. Meat becomes fall-apart tender, there's no need to add fats or oils, and preparation is minimal.
If you are new to slow-cookers, there are a couple of slow-cooking tips and tricks just below the recipe, and I've added some interesting health and nutrition information too.
'Cacciatore' is Italian for 'hunter', and this is a simple tomato and chicken version with onions, herbs and spices.
Recipe in Pictures
- 8 chicken thighs, skinned
- 2 cans tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons plain flour for coating meat
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rosemary, (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon thyme, (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon oregano, (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, (optional)
- 1 onion, chopped
- Roll the chicken thighs in a little plain flour.
- Empty 1/2 a can of tomatoes into the slow-cooker pot, place half the chicken thighs and then half the chopped onions, and continue to layer the ingredients on top of each other, finishing with the last of the tomatoes.
- Set the slow cooker to its 'low' setting, and leave to cook for 6 hours.
- Add the minced garlic and your preferred herbs and spices - I give my favourites for this recipe in the 'ingredients' list but there are many other possibilities too - crushed chili flakes will turn it into a nice 'n' spicy dish.
- Continue to cook on low for another 1-2 hours and then serve - I serve this with garlic bread and salad, but it goes well with pasta too, or spoon the thighs onto a bed of rice or cous cous.
Slow Cooking Hints and Tips for Chicken Cacciatore
These are a few things I've discovered about using slow cookers:
Herbs and spices – herbs and spices can become bitter, or their flavours can be lost entirely when cooked for a long time, so add them to the slow cooker about one or two hours before the end of the cooking time.
Thickening – slow cooked sauces don't thicken in the way that stovetop stews or oven casseroles do, and liquids don't reduce. Rolling the meat in flour before adding it to the pot helps, and only adding enough liquid to make sure that the ingredients cook without catching and burning.
Do Not Disturb. Unless you need to add more liquid or more ingredients at different stages of cooking, leave the lid in place – otherwise heat will escape. Checking and stirring doesn't make much difference to other forms of cooking, but slow cookers take a long time to build up heat, so taking the lid off can dramatically lower the temperature inside the pot.
Health and Nutrition
Chicken thighs have plenty of B3 and B6-vitamins, tryptophan, selenium and protein, and part of your recommended daily iron intake. Chicken soup has been shown to help boost the immune system and perhaps get rid of colds more quickly. Because this cacciatore recipe is cooked slowly allowing all the micronutrients from the chicken thighs to infuse the cooking liquid, I can't see any reason why it shouldn't have the same properties as traditional chicken soup.
Herbs and spices – Rosemary and thyme proportionally contain a lot of iron – it's in non-heme form so it needs a bit of help from vitamin C and/or heme iron to be absorbed by the body. The tomatoes in this recipe provide the vitamin C, and the chicken provides the heme iron, so you'll be getting the most out of this dish if you need a little iron boost.
Colds, flu and infections – as well as chicken's possible role in clearing a cold more quickly, lots of herbs and spices have antimicrobial or immune-boosting properties that might be able to prevent or help get rid of minor infections. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, turmeric, black pepper and many others have been traditionally used as culinary 'medicine', and research is beginning to show that herbs and spices really do have a mild but appreciable beneficial effect, so add a pinch or two of your favourites to ward off winter chills or summer colds.
Approximate Average Nutrition Per Serving
|Serving size: 2 chicken thighs with 2 medium slices garlic bread|
|Calories from Fat||90|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 10 g||15%|
|Saturated fat 2 g||10%|
|Unsaturated fat 5 g|
|Carbohydrates 53 g||18%|
|Sugar 3 g|
|Fiber 5 g||20%|
|Protein 35 g||70%|
|Cholesterol 115 mg||38%|
|Sodium 439 mg||18%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|