There are recipes for which there are as many versions of as there are cooks in the world and I love that; I love the idea of taking a “traditional” recipe and make it mine.
My aim with Sandra’s Holistic Kitchen is to create or re-create recipes and make them easy, affordable and, most important of all, delicious.
I didn’t invent Chicken Cacciatore but I have tried to come up with a version that is as fuss-free as possible, that keeps the chopping to a minimum and is ready in under 45 minutes (from start to finish!) without compromising on the flavours. I had to tweak this recipe a few times before I got something I was happy with and, in this final version, the hero of this recipe is definitely the balsamic vinegar; it lifts the recipe and gives it a pleasant, almost smoky, tang.
Ingredients (serves 2):
2tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts (no skin)
½ onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp sage
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1tbsp tomato puree
150g mushrooms (I chose button mushrooms so I wouldn’t have to chop them)
Small handful of black olives, pitted and halved
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, fry the chicken breasts in 1tbsp olive oil, over medium-high heat, until the meat is sealed and golden (do not worry if your chicken catches a little bit at the bottom of the pan as you will deglaze it later on.) Set aside.
Reduce the temperature to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook the onion and celery for 7-8 minutes until softened, stirring often. Add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a further minute, until the garlic and herbs are fragrant.
Add the balsamic vinegar and leave to boil for a minute to deglaze the pan (you can help the process by gently scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.)
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and mushrooms to the pan and stir. Return the chicken to the saucepan; bring back up to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add the chopped olives and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered (to allow the sauce to reduce a little.)
Taste your sauce and add salt and pepper to taste (I think this recipe benefits from quite a robust seasoning, but as always, please add your salt at the end: it’s easy to add some more if your dish is lacking seasoning but it’s impossible to take it away once it’s in your pan.)
I like to serve this chicken with home-made mashed potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes are enough for 2 people.)
If there is a recipe you love, but find too complicated or time-consumming and would like me to give it the Sandra’s Holistic Kitchen treatment (I’ll be gentle, I promise,) please let me know. I’d love to help out!