February is a big birthday month in my house. My son and my granddaughter share the same special day and, of course, we all get together to celebrate. I can’t believe I have a granddaughter who is almost out of her teens. Yikes, that practically makes me ancient, but still spry enough to whip up a big family dinner. My son always requests the same dessert: a strawberry whipped cream roll, but they left the choice of entree up to me. I’ve made this delicious version of chicken cacciatora for years so decided on this along with garlic bread, a big green salad and several desserts.
This is an excellent entree because you can make it ahead and it gets even better when made the day before. I assemble everything the evening before the party and pop it into the oven about an hour before we sit down to dinner.
- 3 pounds chicken pieces, bone in and skin on
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes and juice
- 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade if you have it
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white wine or chicken stock
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Bone in chicken has so much more flavor than boneless, skinless pieces. Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces well on all sides. Remove chicken pieces from pot and add onion slices and mushrooms. Cook till tender but not brown. Combine all remaining ingredients. Add chicken pieces back to the pot and cover with the sauce mixture. Partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 50-60 minutes until chicken is very tender and the sauce is thick. I usually put the pot into the oven at 350 degrees because I’m always short of space on top of the stove. Either way is good.
Spoon some sauce onto the plate, add a serving of your favorite pasta and a piece or two of chicken and spoon a little more sauce over all. Be sure to serve a crusty bread with dinner so not even a drop of sauce goes to waste.
I had a crowd for dinner but was determined to get at least several photos before the chicken was gone so literally was snapping away as the plates were being taken to the table. This is the best I got, not great, but at least you get the idea.