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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pollo alla cacciatora (hunter's chicken stew) (Italian)

This Italian chicken stew takes a while to make, but it's quite a relaxed cooking session and the way all the flavors come together in the end is amazing. It's very light, but tastes hearty and intense from all the veggies, olives, white wine, fresh mushrooms, capers and so on. We had it with a Italian-style polenta, which we recommend as the ideal side-dish for this.
Adapted mainly from here
Happy New Year and good luck keeping up with all your new plans, resolutions and projects!

Last year: Moldavian fried carp with mamaliga (polenta) and mujdei (garlic sauce)

Ingredients (serves 2-4, depending on the appetite):
  • 4 pieces of chicken thigh (500 g)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 large pearly white onion
  • 300 g fresh champignon mushrooms
  • 100 g pitted black olives
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400 g)
  • 350 ml dry white wine
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta (serves 2):

  • 500 ml vegetable soup
  • 3/4 cup of polenta flour (corn maize) (150 g)
  • 1 slice butter
  • 50 g grated Parmesan

Prepare the vegetables. Cut the chicken thighs in two to make 4 pieces (if they're not cut already). Season the mean with salt and pepper and put it aside.

Heat a little olive oil and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until golden. It doesn't matter if it's still raw inside, it will go in the stew for a long time anyway. Put the fried chicken aside. Chop up the onion and garlic and fry them in a little oil directly in the medium pot you'll use for the stew.

Meanwhile clean and chop up the bell peppers and mushrooms. When the onion and garlic are softened and slightly golden (careful not to brown them!), add the chopped tomato can, the sugar, the wine and the chicken to the pot. 

Next, add the mushrooms, peppers, sliced olives, capers and all the herbs:

Mix well:

Cover and let it cook on medium heat for one hour (stirring once in a while), or place in the oven for one hour. Uncover and let cook some more if you want less liquid (it's really a personal preference thing). 
For the polenta, heat the soup and add the corn maize to it, stirring. After it came together in a polenta (about 10 minutes), add the butter and Parmesan cheese:

Mix very well and it's done. Serve them both warm together:

Enjoy! :)

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