Introduction: Chicken Cacciatore

Being married to an Italian foodie, chicken cacciatore has become a staple meal in our house!  He's quite specific about what he likes, and this recipe has passed the test!  This recipe takes about 2 hours, and feeds 6 adults.  If you have less people than that in your family, don't worry!  This recipe tastes even better the next day!  Enjoy!

Step 1: Ingredients

1-2 red peppers (depending on your preference)
Olive oil
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 Tablespoons of dried oregano
1 egg
2 cups of milk
1 cup dry white wine
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 garlic cloves (cut in 1/2)
1 onion sliced thin
2 ripe chopped tomatoes (or 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, depending on availability of good tasting tomatoes in your area)
1/2 of a lemon, sliced paper thin (very important!)
3 anchovy filets (these can be left out if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon of capers
2 handfuls of fresh basil

Step 2: Prepare the Chicken

This step is a little different from other chicken cacciatore recipes that you may have seen, because most recipes leave the chicken breasts whole, or slice them in half.  However, my husband likes a few of the chicken breasts cut into chunks because he says it "gives the meal a better chicken to sauce ratio"  (his exact words...I told you he was a foodie!)  So, I leave 2 of the chicken breasts whole, and then chunk the rest. 

In a bowl, season flour with oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and milk.

Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg wash, and then in flour again to coat.

Put 1/4 inch of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Heat over medium heat.  Fry chicken in batches just until golden brown (about 6 minutes each side).  Remove from pan and set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the Vegetables

Slices the onion thinly, and slice the 1/2 a lemon even thinner.  Lemon slices should be paper thin.  This ensures an even lemon zest flavoring through the dish, rather than someone getting a bite of huge lemon flavor.

Cut off the top of the red pepper and remove all seeds.  Chop pepper into small pieces, and then divide the total into two piles.  If you have chosen to use whole tomatoes, chop them as well.

Put a large pot on the stove.  Pour in the leftover oil from the frying pan.  (Many people use new oil at this step, but I like to use the leftover oil.  It's already got the Italian flavoring in it, and plus it wastes less ingredients!)  Add garlic cloves, onion, tomatoes, lemon slices, anchovies, capers, 1/2 of the red peppers, and a handful of fresh basil.  Add remaining salt and pepper, and simmer until mixture cooks down to a vegetable pulp (45-60 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Combine Prepared Ingredients

Tuck in the chicken, pour in the white wine, and add the remaining red peppers and basil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Enjoy! (and Always With Wine!)

Carefully remove a serving of the chicken cacciatore onto a plate, making sure to get plenty of the vegetable mixture as well.  Top with a sprig of basil and parmesan cheese, and serve with a nice cabernet sauvignon or sangiovese wine.
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