Chicken Cacciatore with a Port Wine, Tomato Sauce

Today I am sharing a new recipe for Chicken Cacciatore that my husband loves to order when we go to an Italian restaurant. In a few days, I will return to our Letchworth Park series with more pictures and videos. Chicken Cacciatore is always a nice meal that can be served over pasta or rice. By making the sauce with a blend of tomato sauce, Roma tomatoes, and Port Wine gives it a rich color and flavor! I like to purchase whole mushrooms that I wash, dry, and cut into thick slices. Mushrooms tend to cook down to almost nothing so it is best to start out with them thicker. Plus do not substitute can mushrooms – they are like rubber. Fresh is best when taking time to make this recipe. It will take about an hour to slow cook plus time to cook the chicken and saute the vegetables. It is worth the time because you can make a large pot and have it for a few of days. I like to make my pasta fresh each day and serve with crusty bread.

I have made a similar recipe using Merlot Dry Red Wine and this time I used a California Port Wine from Fairbanks which is great for cooking and of course drinking! Remember when cooking with wine, the flavor of the wine will be introduced into your dish. Find a red wine that you enjoy drinking to add to this sauce.

I use my Roma tomatoes and tomato sauce from a can. By adding different seasonings, you can create a homemade sauce. Of course if you have a few Roma tomatoes from your garden that would be a great addition to the sauce!

Some of my readers do not drink alcohol and do not cook with it even though the alcohol mostly cooks out of the dish. I have read where people use balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar as a substitute but not one for one. Try adding a little, maybe a tablespoon, to see if it adds the complexity that wine adds. Other options include tomato juice, beef stock, or cranberry juice. I cannot validate any of these options since I use wine in my dish instead of a substitute.

As a tip, taste your sauce before adding the red wine or a substitute to understand the initial flavor. Add a small amount of wine such as Β½ cup and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then taste again to get an idea on how the wine changed the flavor. Typically I let my dish cook for a few minutes with the cover off to reduce any water before adding the wine.

Ingredients
2 pounds Chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cubed or sliced
Olive oil
2 tsp Garlic, minced
Β½ to 1 cup sliced Mushrooms
3 Small sliced Red, Orange, Yellow Peppers
1 Large sliced Sweet Onions
Β½ cup to 1 cup Port Wine
1 tbsp Italian seasonings
1 28-ounce can chopped Roma Tomatoes
2 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce, or 29-ounce canned sauce
Basil, bay leaf – pick your favorite!
Lawry’s seasoned Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Your favorite pasta – consider a multi-grain pasta

Preparation
Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil and heat. Then add your seasoned chicken to cook through. If there is too much liquid during cooking, carefully remove most of it to allow the chicken to brown.

While the chicken is cooking, cover the bottom of a braising pan with olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 20-minutes on low-medium heat until they caramelize – you can add a tsp of sugar for more sweetness. Add the peppers and cook for a few minutes until tender. If the pan is becoming too dry, add a little tomato sauce. Add garlic and Italian seasonings letting it simmer for about a minute. Then add the tomato sauce, plum tomatoes and cooked chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 30-minutes (longer if you want to slow-cook). Stir periodically. During the last 20-minutes, add the wine and mushrooms. Cover for about 10-minutes to start cooking the mushrooms. Then remove the cover to cook off any water to ensure a thicker sauce. If you prefer a bit thinner sauce then skip this step.

During the last 10-minutes of cooking, prepare your pasta. When everything is done, spoon the Chicken Cacciatore over the pasta. You can serve this meal with crusty Italian bread, salad, and a glass of wine! Enjoy this wonderful, gourmet meal that can easily be prepared after work or made on Sunday to reheat after work! It is a great treat after work when you do not feel like putting much effort into dinner.

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