Mum’s chicken cacciatore

Mum’s chicken cacciatore

By
From
Dig In!
Serves
4
Photographer
Mark Roper

Mum used to cook this when I was young, but it was a much simpler dish. I’ve added the classic Italian flavours of anchovies, pancetta, olives and capers to take it to the next level. This would be great with warm crusty bread or served on a bed of creamy polenta.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 slices pancetta, thinly sliced into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2kg chicken, jointed
4 baby onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
60ml white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
700ml tomato passata
125ml chicken stock
70g black olives, freshly pitted
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
50g capers

Method

  1. Place a large flameproof casserole over high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy, about 2–3 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan and add the olive oil.
  2. Season the chicken, add it to the pan and brown it on all sides in the oil. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the baby onions, garlic and anchovies and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the white wine vinegar and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, passata and stock and return the chicken to the pan. Stir, cover and cook over low heat for 11/2 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone. If the sauce is still watery, cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid removed. Add the pitted olives and stir to combine. Check for seasoning.
  3. While the stew is cooking, fill a medium saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and set over high heat. Check if the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon handle into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the spoon, it’s ready. Throw in half the parsley leaves, but stand back because it will spit. Cook for 30 seconds then transfer to paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with half the capers but cook for 2–3 minutes.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl, drizzle over the sauce, top with the remaining fresh parsley and fresh capers as well as the fried parsley and capers. Serve hot.
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