Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushroom & Sage


Category: Meat
Style: Italian
Difficulty: Medium
Portion: Serves 4

8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lb), trimmed of excess skin and fat
salt and ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
6 oz button mushroom, wiped clean and cut into halves
4 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tbsp flour
1.5 cup dry red wine
0.5 cup chicken broth
1 14oz-can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp dried thyme
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
2 tsp minced fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 300F.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot (Dutch oven) over medium-high heat until very hot. In the mean time, season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs to pot, skin side down, and cook, not moving them until the skin is crisp and well-browned, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken and brown on the second side, and 5 minutes longer. Transfer the browned chicken to a large plate.
When the chicken has cooled, remove and discard the skin. Remove and discard all but about 1 tbsp fat from the pan.
Add the onion, mushrooms, and 1/2 tsp salt to the Dutch oven. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add the wine, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, thyme, Parmesan cheese rind (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken pieces and accumulated juices, submerging the chicken in the liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place the pot in the preheated oven. Cook until the chicken is done, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven. Discard the cheese rind, stir in the sage, and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot.

The reason for using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs is that the final stew will taste richer in flavour than boneless-skinless chicken. But to avoid the excess fat, we will remove the skin after the first browning process and pour off most of the accumulated fat. This way, we can maximize the flavour and minimize the fat.

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