Before we get started on our Chicken Cacciatore I'd like to talk about "Kitchen Gadgets" (don't worry ... we have plenty of time; wait until you see how quickly this all comes together : )
First I need to confess that I LOVE kitchen gadgets. I'm working hard right now on NOT buying one of those cute mini pie makers. What we need to realize that while there are a lot of gadgets we might WANT ... there are some gadgets that we really NEED ... and one of those is a crockpot (slow cooker). Fortunately they are not too expensive and are also easily found at garage sales and flea markets. Many of the recipes I'm going to be giving you will make use of a crockpot ... so I hope you will consider getting one if don't already have one.
Let's get started!
These were our original ingredients ...
Chicken thighs, mushrooms, basil (we will talk soon on how to easily grow a selection of fresh herbs yourself), garlic, Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce (you can use your favorite prepared sauce if you don't have a homemade one; one quart jar will make enough sauce for six servings. Since there are only two of us in my home I will have leftovers : ) The capers, Kalamata olives and anchovies are part of a traditional Putanesca style sauce and are optional. I used the olives and capers in mine (the anchovies are just too salty for me.)
Now here's where doing the advance prep pays off! I went to the the freezer and took out a package of pre-browned chicken thighs and three frozen mushroom blobs and put them in the crockpot. I added a teaspoonful of the capers and then sliced up the pitted Kalamata olives (you can find these in most market's deli section. They may look expensive but you only need a few of them and the flavor they add to the sauce is wonderful). Into the pot they went with two cloves chopped up garlic, a handful of chopped basil and about a quarter cup of red wine (optional).
Then I added the quart of tomato sauce, stirred it around a bit and put the cover on. We'll let it cook for four to six hours on high or six to eight hours on low.
At dinner time we'll make a green salad, cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain it and serve the Chicken Cacciatore with a little bit of grated Parmesan cheese.
Coming up soon ... what are we going to do with the rest of the chicken thighs in the freezer? How about some Chicken Adobo?