This is one of my favorite childhood recipes, I would always ask my mom to make it for me on my birthday ever year. And even though she's given me the recipe I've never been able to recreate it. Though after years of tinkering I've managed to come up with something that is very similar and just as tasty.
For those of you who don't know chicken cacciatore, it's always been described as a "hunter's meal" in every cook book I've read. Its basically a whole chicken, cut up, and then braised in wine, tomato sauce and veggies. Here's what I did.
1 whole chicken cut into eight pieces.
1 large green pepper cut into strips
1 large red pepper cut into strips
1 large onion diced.
1 pound of mushrooms sliced
1 TBSLP thyme
1 TBSLP oregano
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic diced
1 large can (14 ounces I think) of chopped tomatoes
2 or so cups of dry white wine
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Heat large, heavy bottom pot over medium high heat, add olive oil.
Butcher the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Place in plan skin side down and brown. Make sure not to crowd the chicken, work in batches if your pot isn't big enough. Cook for six to 10 minutes. remove chicken and set aside.
Add peppers, onion and sliced mushroom to the pot and cook until just starting to brown. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't stick. Right as the rest of the veggies are truning brown add garlic and cook for another minute or two. If you're having a probem with everything sticking add a little white wine to deglaze the pan.
Put chicken back in the pot and add the liquids. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add spices and dried mushrooms. Do not rehydrate the mushroom before adding it to the pot. They add a nice earthy taste to the stew.
Try to keep at a low simmer. Cover and cook for at least an hour, two hours is better but you can cook for as long as three hours. Depending on how you like your sauce about a hald hour before your ready to eat you might want to remove the chicken and crank up the heat to let it reduce for awhile.
I serve this with some steamed rice, but you could also use pasta if you want.