Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
I got this one from the NY Times Cooking Section. I learned that ‘cacciator’ means ‘hunters style’ and it is said that it was originally a recipe for rabbit. In any case, if you do this bad boy and sever it over polenta or pasta or even as a hoagie sandwich, you will not regret it.
½ pound bacon, preferably thick-cut, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup dry red wine
½ large red onion, thinly sliced
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained (about 1 heaping cup)
¾ cup crushed or diced canned tomatoes (about half a 14-ounce can)
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 to 2 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Torn fresh basil leaves, for topping
Grated Parmesan, for topping
- Fry the bacon in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, leaving the fat behind in the skillet. Add the mushrooms to the fat in the skillet and let them cook over medium-high, stirring only a few times, until the mushrooms have shrunk, released their liquid and started to lightly brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic and tomato paste. Pour in the wine and let it come to a bubble, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, roasted peppers, tomatoes, capers, vinegar, oregano, red-pepper flakes and garlic powder to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add the chicken, season with 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper and stir to combine. Cook on low until the chicken is very tender and the flavors are blended, about 4 hours. (At this point, the dish holds well on the warm setting for several hours.)
- Using two forks, break the chicken up into large chunks. Stir in the parsley and let it warm through. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve over polenta or pasta or in hoagie rolls, if desired, or alone in bowls. Top with basil and Parmesan.