Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Cacciatori 2.0

This is a quick, weeknight version of the classic Chicken Cacciatorra, sped up and streamlined. Using ground chicken instead of chicken thighs means my version is lighter than its traditional cousin, and quicker-cooking to boot, and using lots of herbs gives it a slow-cooked flavor. Simmering the whole pot uncovered at the end gives the sauce time to reduce, and the flavors time to develop.

This is the kind of warm, filling retro-fabulous dish that I love most in the winter. It hits the proverbial spot.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins (plus another 15-20 mins to simmer)
Number of Ingredients: 12

1/4 cup pancetta cubes (or 3 slices of bacon, chopped)
1 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, white and light green parts only (green tops reserved for garnish)
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped + 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes + juice
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 14-oz cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven, and add pancetta or bacon. When it starts to crisp and brown, remove from pan with slotted spoon and reserve. Add garlic, scallions and rosemary and cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add chicken, season with salt, pepper and celery salt. Using the back of your spoon, break the ground meat into chunks as it browns, about 3 minutes. Add wine, taking care to scrape up the lovely brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Bring the whole thing to a bubble, then add tomatoes, bay leaves, Herbes de Provence, sugar and beans. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until sauce reduces by about half.

Sprinkle with the green scallion tops and reserved crispy pancetta or bacon, and serve with hot buttered egg noodles, or rice.

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