Chicken Cacciatore with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Chicken Cacciatore

This deeply satisfying chicken dish is layered with flavors from simmering and braising in fire-roasted tomatoes, tangy capers, earthy mushrooms and fresh vegetables. Complete the experience with authentically Italian Creamy Parmesan Polenta.

Servings: 4
Difficulty: moderate
Active time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Special tools: 5-qt braising pan or Dutch oven with lid

Ingredients

Chicken Cacciatore
1 whole chicken
2 T salt
1 T freshly ground pepper
2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c vegetable oil
4 T olive oil, divided
1 sm yellow onion, cut into 1/2" strips
1 T garlic, crushed
to a rough paste
1/2 c dry white wine
1, 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with liquid (San Marzano or Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
2 T capers, drained
1 T fresh oregano
2 c (approx. 8 oz) white mushrooms, sliced
1 ea red and yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2" strips

Creamy Parmesan Polenta
4 c boiling water
2 t salt
1 c polenta (coarse, dry cornmeal)
1/2 c Parmesan
1 T butter
1/4 c crème fraîche

Steps

Chicken Cacciatore
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken into legs, thighs, wings and breasts; cut breast pieces in half crosswise. Season generously with salt and pepper then dredge in flour, tapping off excess. In a wide, 5-qt braising pan, heat vegetable oil with 2 T olive oil. Add chicken and brown lightly all over. Do not crowd pieces; if pan will not fit all of the chicken, brown it in batches. Remove chicken, add onions to pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 min. Add garlic, cook 1 min. Pour in wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, approx. 1 min. Add tomatoes, capers and oregano; lightly salt and pepper then bring to a boil. Tuck chicken into the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 20 min, stirring a few times.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 2 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and peppers and toss until peppers are wilted but still crunchy, approx. 6 min. Season vegetables with a pinch of salt.

Add peppers and mushrooms to chicken. Cover, transfer to 350 degree oven and cook until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temp, approx. 10 min. If necessary, add a small amount of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks. Serve with Creamy Parmesan Polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Bring water to a boil. Add salt and sprinkle in polenta slowly, stirring constantly. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue stirring slowly 10-15 min until polenta is softened. Add cheese, butter and crème fraîche. Remove from heat and adjust salt, if needed. Serve immediately.