Pollo alla Cacciatore
Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatore)
adapted from "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen"
1 chicken cut up about 4 1/2 pounds (preferably free-range)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion cut into strips
1/2 cup red wine
One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with liquid, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably the Sicilian or Greek type) dried on the branch, crumbled
2 cups sliced white or shiitake mushrooms, about 8 ounces
1 red and 2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into strips
Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces in flour, coating them lightly and tapping off excess flour. In a wide (at least 12-inch) 5-quart braising pan, heat the vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until a piece of chicken dipped in the oil gives off a very lively sizzle. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pan as will fit without touching. Do not crowd chicken; if the skillet is not wide enough to fit all of the chicken, brown it in batches. Remove chicken pieces from the skillet as they brown, adding some of the remaining pieces of chicken to take their place. Remove all chicken from the skillet. Add the onion to the fat remaining in the pan, and cook, stirring 5 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Tuck the chicken into the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle boil, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring a few times, 20 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and toss until the peppers are wilted but still quite crunchy, about 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt.
Stir the peppers and mushrooms into the chicken pan. Cook covered until the chicken and vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Check the level of the liquid as the chicken cooks. There should be enough liquid barely to cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks. Makes 6 servings.