Last week’s winner meal in our home, two thumbs up from both of us, this recipe is a bit unusual for a “cacciatore,” as it contains very few ingredients, and omits the traditional peppers and onions that most versions are loaded with.  Two little twists in the recipe:  the use of porcini mushrooms and the way it handles the parsley.  Normally, parsley is added at the end of cooking to preserve its freshness, but in this case Chiarello adds most of it right at the initial stage, and saves some for sprinkling on top of the dish at serving time.  My main modification, as often happens with braised chicken thighs, was to increase cooking time by a long shot.

(from Michael Chiarello – Casual Cooking)

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
6 chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian  parsley
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup  chicken broth
1/2 cup water

Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl or glass, and add the hot water. Leave them sitting in the water for 30 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon; finely chop. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth to catch any dirt or solids, and reserve.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil on a large skillet, add the chicken, skin sides down; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, turn and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a platter; remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from skillet.

Add garlic to oil in skillet; cook over medium heat about 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley; cook for a minute, stir in mushrooms, tomato puree, chicken broth, 1/2 cup water and reserved mushroom liquid; heat to a simmer. Add chicken, skin sides up; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until done to your liking (I cooked for 50  minutes in a very gentle heat, turning the pieces a couple of times during cooking, ending with them skin side up).

Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Increase heat for sauce to high; boil sauce 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.


to print the recipe, click here

(click to enlarge the images)

Dried porcini mushrooms are one of my favorite ingredients. They wait patiently inside the bag, and once you add warm water, they soak it, turn all soft, and fill your kitchen with that intense mushroom-y smell that is a sure sign of a fantastic meal ahead.   Michael Chiarello hit the jackpot when he combined porcini and parsley, in  a sort of minimalist approach that needs nothing else to shine.   According to his recipe, you only need to cook the thighs for 20 to 25 minutes.  I always go for a “falling off the bone” tenderness, and that is not even close to happening in less than half an hour. Use your own favorite method.

This was a very tasty recipe, perfect to make ahead for entertaining.  We enjoyed it with some orecchiette soaked in the cacciatore’s sauce, and stove-top blasted broccoli.

For another version of this delicious dish, jump to Rufu’s blog clicking here

ONE YEAR AGO: Donna Hay’s Thai-Inspired Dinner

TWO YEARG AGO: Panettone

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