Chicken Cacciatore Stew
Cacciatore, which means hunter in Italian, is the perfect hearty stew when it’s cold outside. It has a combination of tangy tomato sauce with the salty brininess of olives and, in my version, the spicy kick of hot cherry peppers. When I try to create recipes, many times I look back on traditional dishes that I can simplify and remake a bit healthier. For this classic, I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts and jarred tomato sauce. If you are watching your salt consumption, use a low sodium version and reduce the olives to a quarter cup (chopped instead of whole will add just a touch of saltiness without as much salt).
I found this amazing paste at Trader Joe’s called Umami Paste. I put it in all sorts of things like this stew, soups, eggs and salad dressings. Umami is one of the five basic tastes and it has an earthy meaty flavor which adds depth to the sauce. It is optional so if you can find it, just leave it out. One of tricks to making stews and soups is the art of layering flavors. Browning the meat so there is concentrated flavor left on the meat, as well as, the bottom of the pan starts the layering method. Using wine to deglaze (loosen brown bits to incorporate in the sauce) the pan and letting it evaporate to concentrate the flavors is a very important step in this process. It gives a stew that long cooked flavor without the time. I decided to make this a one pot meal by cooking the pasta within the stew at the end. It saves on clean-up and makes the stew even heartier.
This stew is a good source of protein, potassium and vitamin C. It is also low in saturated fat. The sodium is high due to the olives and jarred tomato sauce. As I mentioned before, you can reduce the amount of olives if you are watching your sodium intake. I hope you will give this one pot dish a try. Enjoy!
Chicken Cacciatore Stew
Total time: 1 hour
Active cook time: 30 minutes
4 Medium skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
4 oz bacon or pancetta, chopped
1 jar (~23 oz) Marinara sauce
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
1 large or two small green peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped hot cherry peppers
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup tubetti or other small pasta
½ cup water
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon Trader Joe’s Umami paste
Toss chicken pieces in 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a large dutch oven and brown chicken in batches over medium-high heat. Set aside browned chicken. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil and bacon or pancetta. Cook until the bacon has rendered some of the fat, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables, remaining salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 min. Add chicken with accumulated juices, olives, tomato sauce, water and umami paste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer covered 10 minutes. Add pasta and continue to simmer covered 20 minutes, periodically stirring to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Nutrition Facts Serving Size 8 (224g) Per Serving % Daily Value* Calories 367 Total Fat 17.1g 26% Saturated Fat 3.8g 19% Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 53mg 18% Sodium 1357mg 57% Potassium 465mg 13% Total Carb 29g 10% Dietary Fiber 2.3g 9% Sugars 3.4g Protein 22.4g Vitamin A 3% · Vitamin C 31% Calcium 9% · Iron 9% *Based on a 2,000 calorie diet