Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.
Chicken Cacciatore has always been a dish I’ve enjoyed, but one I’ve never been able to fully master. The balance of flavours has always been slightly askew, and while I’ve managed to create a tasty version, there’s just been something missing. Most of the recipes I’ve tried have used chicken drumsticks, which are a bit tricky to eat when smothered in a rich tomato sauce.
Enter Chelsea’s Chicken Cacciatore. The ingredients are uncomplicated and few, and the method couldn’t be simpler. Brown chicken breasts? I can do that. Throw a few sauce ingredients into a pan to simmer and thicken? Yep. Add a few more bits and pieces to create that balance I’ve been searching for? Done!
The first time I made this recipe, the whole chicken breasts took a little longer to cook through than I expected, but we all went back for seconds and basically licked our plates clean. The second time I made it, I started cooking earlier and yep, same as before – clean plates.
I’ve also made it using chopped chicken breasts, in an effort to make it s-t-r-e-t-c-h a little further – the cooking time is drastically reduced this way. I’ve made it without capers, and the flavour wasn’t quite right, but it was still very tasty. I chargrill fresh peppers – throw quarters under the grill at the same time as you brown the chicken, then pop them in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave the skins to basically sweat loose.
It was easy to make a gluten free version for a kindy teacher and her family following surgery, and it is already dairy free which is perfect for me. It’s a healthy dish, and a great meal for a family – I normally use half the number of chicken breasts (unless they are tiiiiiiny), and there is enough to feed my family of four, with plenty of leftovers for Tall’s lunch.
This is one well-spattered page in At My Table, and a dish I keep returning to when I’m feeling uninspired.