James was on a business trip this week and I had a busy work-lady list. This means dinner needed to be 1. A slow cooker recipe that 2. Children would eat. I added one more requirement 3. It must heat up well for leftovers for a late returning manfriendhusband.
Enter slow cooker chicken cacciatore.
This slow cooker chicken cacciatore uses lots of ingredients, but most of them were in my pantry and freezer already.
I sautéed mushrooms to serve on the side/stir into the sauce. I kept the mushrooms out of the slow cooker as I did not want to be arguing with toddlers over mushrooms in their dinner.
(I’m already pushing it with the parsley.)
Browning the chicken skin is a pain in the behind, but is key. The skin still becomes flabby and gross in the slow cooker, but the extra flavor the browning imparts to the chicken is worth it. The flour from the dredging also melts into the sauce and makes it even meltier. Meltier. I read that word in a book somewhere.
Helen Jane’s Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
1 chicken, cut up
(I used 4 on the bone chicken thighs and two large breasts, cut in half)
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 red pepper
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine (I use Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc for all my white wine cooking needs. Also for drinking. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a Napa Valley secret.)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
(optional: 6 white mushrooms, stems trimmed and cut in quarters.)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley for serving
Lots of Parmesan cheese for serving
Turn the slow cooker on either low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Heat the olive oil in the saute pan.
While you’re waiting for the oil to heat up, mix the salt and cayenne pepper in with the flour in a large plastic baggie or a big bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
Brown the chicken in the oil.
This browning part takes a hot minute (or 20 minutes) so you can prepare the rest of the sauce while the chicken browns.
Cut the red pepper and the onion into pieces bigger than a dice, smaller than a matchstick. A half matchstick? A large dice? I cooked them this way so the children could still remove the offending pieces from the sauce if they needed to, but that they’d still be small enough to incorporate.
Chop the garlic nearly to a mince.
Open the cans.
Open the wine.
Get out the oregano and the additional salt and the bay leaves and the red pepper flakes.
Remove the chicken from the oil in the pan. Carefully, carefully put the onion and red pepper into the hot oil. I don’t want you splattering yourself with hot oil because that’s exactly what I did and it hurt like hurt.
Stir the oil, onion, red pepper mixture until well-mixed.
Add oregano and bay leaf.
Frizzle the veggies in the saute pan for 5 minutes or until they are translucent and nearly a little brown.
Add garlic. Stir through for 30 seconds.
Now carefully add the wine, stir through for 2 minutes, or until the alcohol burns off (you’ll smell it as it rises to the angels).
Add the two cans of tomatoes to your pan and cook through for 5 minutes.
Now scrape the pan contents into the warm slow cooker.
Place the chicken on top of the sauce.
Walk away, son.
Walk away for either 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
When you return, stir it up.
Scoop the sauce over those browned thighs and breasts. If you wanted to include the mushrooms, enter the mushrooms into the slow cooker now. (I don’t like to add mushrooms until the end of my slow cooker time because they can get a little slimy in a crockpot.)
When it’s all cooked through, remove the bay leaves and serve on a large, deep platter. I remove the skins from the chicken pieces as I can — as they’re pretty unpleasant to come across. I sprinkle it with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
We served it with spaghetti, but I also love chicken cacciatore with buttered egg noodles.
While I was putting dinner on the table, the girls were doing this:
It almost made up for those arguments about the parsley. Grin.
Happy slow cooking!