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Here is my lazy version (meaning it’s partly baked in the oven) of Chicken Cacciatore. As with all peasant dishes (in Italian this means ‘hunters stew’) the end result depends largely on available ingredients. You can make it as homely or as grand as you wish. Enjoy!

Cosy Chicken Pot
Comfort food at its best!

Ingredients


  • 1.4 kg free-range chicken portions
  • 125 ml seasoned flour
  • some olive oil
  • some butter
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 - 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 x 425 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 ml dried oregano
  • 15 ml sugar
  • salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 250 g rindless streaky bacon, cut into batons
  • 250 g white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 125 ml black olives
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, skinned and sliced in thin wedges
  • basil and parsley, chopped



Chef's hint: A hint of chili will go down exceptionally well. Add it to the tomato mixture.

Method


Liberally dust the chicken with the seasoned flour and shake the excess off. Discard leftover flour. In large saucepan, heat some olive oil and butter then brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Lower heat and sauté the pieces over very low heat for 15 minutes, covered with a lid. Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish and add a little olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and green pepper. Sauté for a few minutes then add the garlic. Stir briefly then add the tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano and sugar and season to taste. Bring to boiling point, reduce heat and simmer sauce uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in another pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook them until soft and juicy.
Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken pieces in the casserole and top with the mushrooms and toss lightly to mix. Tuck in the bacon batons and sprinkle with the olives.

Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 190º C for 30 minutes. Remove cover, add the fresh tomato slices, stir lightly and then bake further for 15 – 20 minutes (uncovered) until the sauce is sticky and the chicken has browned beautifully. Stir in the chopped herbs and serve.

Serves 6.