I have become obsessed recently with Calabrian peppers. You buy them in a jar, and you can buy either whole peppers or pepper pesto, which is my favorite. We like things spicy in my house, and although my husband loves so much heat you no longer can taste anything because your taste buds are burned, I like just a little heat to keep things interesting without causing damage. Calabrian peppers have a lot of flavor as well as heat, and just like nduja, they really add a unique flavor to any dish that they are included in. What I like best about the pesto variety, is that I can add just a little to my recipe, and then when the dish is completed, if I taste it and feel it could use a little more heat, it is effortless to stir in just a little more.
I have always enjoyed Chicken Cacciatore, although I have not made it in over a year. I recently have been trying to eat low carb, so I thought that Chicken Cacciatore would be a great addition to my weekly menu. I served the chicken dish on top of riced cauliflower, although it is also great on top of polenta, risotto, mashed potatoes, or even pasta. I prefer using skinless, bone-in chicken thighs for this dish as I find thighs are much moister than chicken breasts, especially bone-in ones. I also used a dry red wine in my version of this traditional dish, which gives the dish a dark burgundy color. If you prefer, you could use white wine instead, which would keep the dish lighter both in color and flavor. As with most of my cooking, I prefer using fresh herbs, and my favorite brands of tomatoes are either Mutti or Pomi. Both are full of fresh tomato flavor and are my go-to brands I only use in my kitchen. I kept this dish fairly simple adding onions, mushrooms, peppers, and Kalamata olives to this dish, but you could add diced carrots, celery, and even some capers if you wanted to. This dish does need flavorful olives, so use a variety such as Kalamata that have a lot of flavor, and not those flavorless canned olives.
Deborah Mele 2022
- 6 Large Skinless, Bone-in Chicken Thighs
- Salt & Pepper
- 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 1 Medium Onion, Diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 (8 Ounce) Package Of Mushrooms, Diced ( I Used Baby Bella)
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, Diced
- 1 Medium Yellow Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Cup Dry Red Wine (See Notes Above)
- 1 (28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes)
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Calabrian Pepper Pesto ( As Desired)
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Kalamata Olives
- Season thighs with salt and pepper, and then heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy, oven-proof pan.
- Once lightly smoking, brown the thighs well on both sides, then remove to a plate.
- Add the remaining oil, and once hot, add the onions and cook 3 to 4 minutes until transparent.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the mushrooms, and bell peppers to the pan and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
- Return the thighs to the pan and add the wine.
- Turn the heat to high, and cook until the wine has reduced by at least half.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, Calabrian peppers, thyme, and oregano and bring to a boil.
- Taste the sauce, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Cover the pan and place in the oven and bake for 1 hour until the chicken meat falls off of the bone.
- Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the parsley and olives.
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