Cacciatore, or hunter’s stew, is usually a chicken dish these days, but its roots are in game cookery. The acid in the tomatoes and the wine help tenderize the meat. It’s often served with pasta, but I prefer it with chunks of potato.
4 lb. chicken cut into 10 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, diced
1 each red and green pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch wide strips
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into generous cubes
2 cups red wine
14 oz. can plum tomatoes, broken up with the back of a spoon
1 bay leaf
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Pinch each of thyme, sage, rosemary
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy casserole, brown the chicken nicely on all sides, and remove.
Cook the onions until they begin to soften and turn golden around the edges. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the peppers and mushrooms and sauté until shiny.
Put the chicken back in the casserole with any accumulated juices. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce the wine by about half. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
Put the casserole in the oven and bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked on the bone and the potatoes are fork tender. Before serving, skim any fat that has accumulated on the sauce.
Wine: Break out the Brunello di Montalcino, or even a red Zinfandel.
Something green? Steamed broccoli rabe or kale, or a bitter salad with endive and a sweet vinegar dressing would go well with this.