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Chicken Cacciatore

Traditional Cacciatore with pancetta.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 pound crimini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
  kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chickens, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds each cut into 4 pieces (2 breast pieces, 2 thigh-drumstick pieces, wings reserved for another use)
1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1/4" slices
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4" slices
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, puréed
5 sprigs fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
One 2-inch rind Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
  fresh cooked pasta for serving
  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Cooking Instructions

Tip: A rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is used here to add extra flavor to the braising liquid. It softens during cooking and lends richness to the sauce. They can also be used in soups, stews and other braised dishes.

Warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to crisp and turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, lightly sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Cook until the mushrooms start to release moisture and turn a light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the mixture from the skillet and transfer to a slow cooker.

Season the chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. In the same skillet, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Brown the chicken pieces in batches, skin side down, in a single layer until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brown the second side, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.

Reduce the heat to medium, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, if needed, the onions and red peppers to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the chicken broth, puréed tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and Parmigiano rind. Stir to combine then transfer to the slow cooker.

Cover and set to cook according to manufacturer's instructions on shortest setting, up to 6 hours.

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and cover with foil. Discard the bay leaf and Parmigiano rind. Pour the braising liquid into a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, maintaining a simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.

When the chicken has cooled slightly, peel off the skin and discard. Add the capers and parsley to the braising liquid and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour half the sauce over the chicken and use the other half for tossing with pasta. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

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