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My husband Jack grew up in a big Italian family – but there was also a decidedly French Canadian influence in the foods they ate from his mother’s side of the family. (His mom is mostly French Canadian with a little Chippewa Indian thrown into the mix!) So some of the recipes Jack grew up with – like this Chicken Cacciatore – are a mix of two different cultural influences.
Today’s recipe for chicken cacciatore is a different, but delicious twist on the traditional Italian recipe. It has all the typical ingredients – chicken, peppers, onions and tomato sauce – but it also has a French Canadian influence with green beans added, and boiled potatoes instead of pasta. But feel free to omit both the green beans and the potatoes and serve the chicken and sauce over pasta if you want a more traditional Chicken Cacciatore!
Our version of Chicken Cacciatore is delicious – and the one that Jack distinctly remembers as a boy growing up. For him, the potatoes and beans really complete this dish! And the wonderful smells filling our kitchen as it cooked brought back great memories of his parents cooking in their home in Brockton, Massachusetts. For Jack – his Chicken Cacciatore smells and tastes like home! Enjoy!
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- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (3–4 cloves)
- 2 medium green bell pepper cut into thick vertical strips (about a pound before cutting)
- 2 medium red bell pepper cut into thick vertical strips (about a pound before cutting)
- 1 1/2 pounds yellow onions cut in half vertically then cut into thick half rings (about two large onions)
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans trimmed but left whole
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 28-ounce can crushed kitchen-ready tomatoes (we like Pastene San Marzano brand)
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 8 ounce package whole button mushrooms cleaned
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 pound russet potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
- Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces and salt and pepper both sides. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook garlic until light brown. Use a long handled strainer and remove and discard cooked garlic.
- Turn heat to medium high to high and brown chicken on both sides, about five minutes for each side. (Try not to crowd pan). After browning for ten minutes, cover, lower heat to a simmer and cook in the oil covered for five minutes.
- Remove chicken to a platter and raise heat to medium high to high.
- Add both bell pepper types, onions and green beans and cook for five minutes until crisp but not limp.
- Add tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add canned tomatoes pepper flakes and cooked chicken pieces with any juice collected and cook covered over medium heat for five minutes.
- Add whole mushrooms and chopped parsley, stir, heat back up, cover pan and turn off burner and let mixture sit for 30 minutes.
- While mixture is resting, peel potatoes and cut each into about six or eight pieces and cook in boiling salted water until tender.
- To serve, heat chicken mixture to serving temperature and serve over cooked potatoes, or if you prefer serve pasta instead of potatoes. This dish was also traditionally served at room temperature in Jack’s family (which is how he likes it), but serve based on your own preferences.
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