Chicken Cacciatore with Cubanelle Peppers
The other day I took a drawer full of wilting veggies and made the most wonderful all-purpose tomato sauce out of them, it was so good but there was so much of it. That night I used half the sauce to make Garden Vegetable Tomato and Caper Sauce that I served over ravioli. It was great. The other half of the sauce went into the fridge and I was waiting for inspiration. It came in the form of chicken thighs and cubanelle peppers: cacciatore. This was a last minute inspiration on a busy week night so I was a bad blogger and only snapped a few pictures of the finished dish, but you know what? This recipe is darn simple so I think you guys can follow along without the pictures.
I love bell peppers they just don’t love me so often in my recipes where others use bell peppers I will substitute other peppers especially cubanelles. I think they even have a better flavor than the green bells that can get a bitter. That all being said feel free to use bell peppers in this recipe in place of my cubanelles. Also if you don’t have the time or desire to make the Garden Vegetable tomato sauce, I will not tell anyone if you open a jar of your favorite store brand spaghetti sauce instead. It will be our little secret.
Basic Garden Vegetable Tomato Sauce
4 small onions, diced
1 head garlic, crushed and diced
20-30 cherry tomatoes halved
8-10 stalks of celery with leaves, diced (I had 2 celery centers so I had like 15 tiny stalks)
3 medium carrots peeled and diced
1 zucchini diced
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes, 28oz
½ cup of drinkable red wine
2 tbs of Italian spice blend (or your favorite blend of Italian spices)
1 tsp of salt
This is an easy recipe, just dice up all those sad little veggies toss them in a big pot with a drizzle of olive oil and let them soften up over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they cook evenly.
When the onions are clear and the veggies starting to soften add in the can of San Marzano Tomatoes, if you want to you can chop up the tomatoes but just be sure you don’t lose too much of the liquid they are canned in because all that needs to go in the pot to help make your sauce. Also add in a half cup of the red wine, salt, and the Italian spices. Let the sauce cook down for 20-30 minutes over medium low heat, stir occasionally. If you don’t want to stir, lower the stove temperature and let the sauce cook for about an hour.
When you are sick of stirring the pot pour the sauce in small batches into your food processor and give it a rip! Be careful putting hot things in the food processor, there will be steam and sharp objects. This is not going to be a silky smooth sauce it should have a little texture left so don’t over process. You will get about 7-8 cups of sauce when all is the processing is done.
The first night I made this sauce I took half of it and made this tasty dinner. The remaining sauce I placed in the refrigerator for a few days until I came up with the idea of making some cacciatore out of it.
4-6 pieces of chicken with skin on
3-4 cubanelle peppers, sliced
Half a head of garlic, crushed and finally chopped
2 shallots, sliced
½ cup white wine
¼ cup chicken broth
4 cups of the garden vegetable tomato sauce
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Start by heating a large Dutch oven over medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil in it. While the pan is heating season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once hot sear the chicken pieces on both sides until browned. You will know that it is time to flip the pieces when a gentle tug releases the meat from the pan. If you have yank it’s not done yet. Set aside the chicken once browned.
Add in the onions, cubanelles, shallots and garlic to the hot pan, you may need to add a small drizzle more of olive oil if the pan is dry.
When the veggies have softened a little, about 5-10 minutes of cooking deglaze the bottom of the pan with the white wine. Then pour in the tomato sauce, and stir. If the sauce looks very thick add chicken broth until it is a nice consistency. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Arrange the chicken in the pot, being sure to coat each piece with the sauce then put the pan uncovered in the oven for 30-40 minutes. If the peppers and onions look like they are browning too fast give the pot a stir half way through the cooking. Check that the chicken is fully cooked internal temperature should be 165 degrees. Serve the cacciatore over short pasta and it’s a great hearty meal.