Friday, October 29, 2021

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Italian Chicken Cacciatore made easy in the crock pot!  

A variation on the popular "hunter style" prepared meal of chicken braised in a richly flavored tomato sauce with vegetables.  A classic that's been around since the Renaissance and is comfort food at it's best!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Comfort food is calling my name, so it's time to make an Italian favorite, Chicken Cacciatore.  Let's break out the slow cooker!  This version is quick and easy to prepare using boneless chicken breasts or thighs along with vegetables that are slow cooked in the most amazing tomato based sauce.  This is one hearty, family lovin' meal!

Easy enough to serve this on a weeknight yet sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party.  It's a great dish to bring people together to enjoy the pleasures and flavors of comfort food.

What Ingredients do I need?

  • chicken - boneless, skinless breasts 
  • onion - yellow or brown
  • garlic
  • balsamic vinegar - good quality
  • crushed tomatoes
  • bell pepper - green or red
  • mushrooms - I love baby bellas
  • Italian seasoning
  • red wine - something you would drink

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use boneless, skinless thighs or bone-in pieces.  If leaving the skin on it is best to brown the skin side of the chicken in a skillet before adding to a slow cooker. You will also need to add additional time in the slow cooker.  For a lighter version, remove the skin from one in pieces.
  • Blend up your own crushed tomatoes using whole roma tomatoes and a blender or food processor.
  • Use red, green, yellow, or orange bell peppers or a combination of several.
  • If you don't like mushrooms, leave them out.
  • If you love olives add those to the sauce.
  • Omit the wine if you want this alcoholic free.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Serve along side pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, polenta, zucchini noodles, crispy roasted potatoes, and crusty bread!
  • To thicken the sauce, remove the chicken when it is done and has reached 165 degrees, turn the temperature to high. Add 4 tablespoons of flour to a cup and add in 1/4 cup of the sauce from the slow cooker.  Mix until the flour has dissolved, then add to the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 30 minutes, then add the chicken back to warm through.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 orange bell pepper, sliced into strips
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup red wine
To thicken sauce: 4 Tablespoons flour added to 1/4 cup sauce

In a large skillet over medium high heat add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and allow to get hot.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and cook 1-2 minutes per side, just long enough to brown them.  The chicken will not be cooked through at this point.  

Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker with any pan drippings.  Top the chicken with the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, vinegar, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and wine.  

Cook on LOW 4-5 hours or on HIGH 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Chicken should be cooked through and at a 165 degree temperature.  Remove chicken from the pan and combine the flour and some of the sauce in a small bowl, stirring to combine.  Add flour slurry to the sauce in the crockpot and mix.  Turn the slow cooker temperature to high and allow to cook for 30 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Once thickened return chicken and cook until warmed through, another 15-20 minutes.  Serve.

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