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Really Good Chicken Cacciatore (Gluten-Free)
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
Simple, rustic foods are one of my true loves. Simple, rustic, Italian foods are one of my great loves.
The Italian word 'cacciatore' means 'hunter.' In Italy, dishes prepared 'alla cacciatore,' or 'hunter-style,' usually include chicken or sometimes rabbit, and are prepared with tomatoes, onions, herbs, often bell pepper, and often include either red or white wine.
Because the chicken or the rabbit are commonly dredged in flour, traditional cacciatore dishes can be off limits for people eating a gluten-free diet. However, with a spot of modification, that hurdle can be cleared, and a wonderful gluten-free vesion of the dish can be enjoyed.
This recipe for chicken cacciatore makes about four servings.
4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
½ cup tapioca, rice or other gluten-free flour or potato starch, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup dry white wine (red wine works, too)
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
2½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in gluten-free flour mixture to coat lightly.
In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the oil to medium-high flame. Sauté chicken pieces until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Transfer browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan sauté bell pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the wine and simmer a few minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes with the juice, broth, capers and oregano.
Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce for a few minutes, until it thickens up.
Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve with rice or pasta for a delicious meal.
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