Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pollo alla Cacciatore

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A few weeks back, I had a colleague of mine over from Europe. Since she belongs to Italy, we got into a discussion on Italian cuisine and wine in particular. I guess, it stayed with till over the weekend and come Sunday, I was busy trying to recreate some Italian dishes that have always been my favorites.
Pollo alla Cacciatore, was first made by me when I was in the culinary institute. The term comes from the Italian term, Pollo meaning chicken and cacciatore meaning hunter. In culinary terms alla cacciatore means prepared in the hunter style, using tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms, onions and yes! wine. The choice of wine can be tricky with red wine being used in Southern parts and white wine being preferred in the Northern parts of Italy. This is a very popular dish and like many popular dishes each region has its own variation to this dish. It even has a cousin in France which is called Poulet Saute Chasseur.

Pollo alla Cacciatore

Chicken, cut into large pieces - 1 kg
Onion, finely chopped - 1
Garlic, crushed - 3 cloves
Bacon, preferably Pancetta, finely chopped - 150 gm
Mushrooms, thickly sliced - 125 gm
Red Wine - 1/3 Cup
Tomatoes, chopped - 800 gm
Brown Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Oregano - 1 tsp
Thyme - 1 tsp
Bay Leaf - 1
Black Pepper - 2 tsp
Salt - To Taste
Olive Oil - 6 tblsp

1. Heat 3 tblsp oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook till onion turns golden brown. Add the bacon followed by the mushrooms. Cook for 5 more minutes. Transfer to another bowl.
2. Add the remaining 3 tblsp olive oil to the same pan and heat. Add the chicken pieces.
3. Cook till chicken starts to brown. Add the salt and black pepper powder.
4. Add the red wine and cook till the wine has almost evaporated.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, thyme, oregano and bay leaf.
6. Add in 1/3 cup water and mix well. Cook till the mixture comes to a boil.
7. Add in the mushroom mixture that we had cooked earlier. Mix well.
8. Lower the flame and cook for 20-25 minutes on low flame stirring from time to time or till chicken in done and excess liquid has evaporated.
9. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Next Time : Eggplant Parmesan


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