Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pollo alla cacciatora – Chicken cacciatora

Pollo alla cacciatora is basically chicken pot roasted in a tomato sauce. Cacciatora hints at an intriguing ancestry, related to hunting, just as carbonara suggests charcoal burners in forest clearings. But try to follow the trial and it peters out. One Bolognese cookery writer sees a connection with the sort of aromatics you might use if you were cooking game but only one of the dozens of recipes I’ve consulted confirms that view. Instead, there are endless variations on the ingredients although the basics are always the meat – and it can be rabbit or wild boar or venison – and the tomato sauce. Anyway, here is my version, the sort of thing you could expect to eat in a Bolognese trattoria. A good accompaniment would be roasted potatoes.

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 skinnned chicken thighs

3tbl olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

3 sticks of celery finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

75ml white wine

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

sprig of thyme, finely chopped

sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper

bunch of parsley, finely chopped


1. Heat the olive oil in a roasting dish with a lid. Add the chicken and gently brown it.

2. Remove the chicken and add the vegetables, frying them until soft with the lid on.

3. Now add the wine on a high temperature to drive off the alcohol, and then the tomatoes and aromatics. Cook the sauce with the lid off until it is reduced and dense.

4. Replace the chicken and put the roasting dish in the oven at 170 degrees C with the lid on for 40 minutes.

5. Test to ensure that the chicken is cooked, then add the chopped parsley, season to taste and serve.

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