Chicken Cacciatore

October 13, 2009

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Serves 4

1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into 8 pieces, or 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered (small ones halved)

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or rosemary

1½ tablespoons flour

¾ cup dry white wine

¾ cup homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth

1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Sprinkle chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it ripples. Place chicken pieces in pot skin side down (do not crowd pan – brown the chicken in 2 batches, if necessary) and cook without moving them until skin is crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and cook, again without moving, until second side is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a large plate and, if necessary, repeat with remaining chicken pieces. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Discard all but 1½ tablespoons of fat from the pot.

Return pot to burner, set the heat to medium, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring often, until liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add the onions, stir to coat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano or rosemary, flour, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the flour films the bottom of the pot, about 1 minute. Add the wine, increase heat to high, and cook, scraping the bottom of pot, until the flour dissolves and thickens the liquid, about 1 minute. Add the broth and tomatoes, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken with any accumulated juices, submerge in the liquid, return to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover pot, and simmer until the chicken is very tender and pulling away from the bone, about 35 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving dish, cover with foil to keep warm, and set aside. Allow the braising liquid to rest in the pot for about 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaves and spoon off as much fat as possible. Set the pan over medium-high heat, add any juices from the chicken, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly, about 4 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper, if necessary, add most of the parsley, and stir to mix. Pour the sauce over and around the chicken, sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve at once.