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Chicken Cacciatore – Hunter’s Stew

Northern Italian “Hunter’s Stew” or Chicken Cacciatore (*with mushrooms added and finished with a little red wine, for optional yum!)

2-3 lbs of chicken: about 8 large chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless) or a mix of thighs and legs.  (your choice skin or skinless)
3-4 tbsp olive oil.
1 large brown onion, small diced.
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced.
1 each red and orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ long slices.
2-3 medium sprigs of fresh Rosemary, destemmed and chopped.  About 2-3 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
1-2 bay leaves.
1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock.
1 to 2 cups good dry white wine.
1 jar Due Cellucci Tomato Basil Sauce
3 tbsp of tomato paste
1 package of mushrooms, sliced. (*optional)
3/4 cup of a deep red wine. (*optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste.
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley, some for finishing the dish while cooking and some for garnishing at table.
Prepare polenta, spaghetti or mashed potatoes for serving.

1. Heat about 2 tbsp of the oil in large sauté pan or dutch oven, medium heat,
2. Salt and pepper the chicken, then brown all pieces, turning as needed (let protein sit until it comes away from pan without tearing), about 4 minutes each side, to a golden brown.  Does not have to be cooked through yet.  Remove chicken and set aside.
3. Add rest of oil and saute the diced onions and sliced peppers until softened, about 5-6 minutes, add in garlic and continue stirring and softening for about 1-3 minutes more.
4. Return chicken and any juices to the pan.
5. Add wine and cook until alcohol evaporates, about 5 minutes, stirring and turning chicken occasionally.
6. Add entire jar of DC sauce, tomato paste, chopped rosemary, bay leaves, and half of the chopped parsley.  Stir well, simmer on medium-low, occasionally turning chicken as needed.
7. As sauce starts to reduce a bit, slowly add in chicken stock in intervals, about a 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue simmering and adding the rest of stock.
8. Cover and simmer on low for an hour or longer.  If you chose to use a dutch oven, feel free to transfer covered pot to hot oven and cook at 350 for an hour or longer.  Either way, check dish as needed and stir occasionally, turning chicken pieces in the sauce.

*At stage 8, I personally prefer to add a large package of brown mushroom, sliced. Crimini or Baby Bella mushrooms work great, and continue slow cooking with the addition of about 3/4 cup of a nice deep red wine!

Taste sauce for richness and flavor.  Adjust as needed with salt & pepper, additional sprigs of rosemary, any preferred seasoning, a thread or more of additonal olive oil.  Serve hot over polenta, spaghetti or mashed potatoes.