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January 18, 2016

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Chicken Cacciatore with olives, mushrooms and squash

I grew up LOVING my best friend’s mother’s chicken cacciatore.  She was an amazing cook, and everything she prepared was absolutely wonderful.  The smell and taste of this meal transports me to happy childhood memories for sure.

I stumbled upon this recipe of Jamie Oliver’s on Epicurious, and it sounded devine!  With fresh leek, pancetta, and the surprising addition of butternut squash – I can’t wait to dig in!  And…it’s the perfect one pot meal for a cold winter evening.  Just serve with some crusty bread and a salad, and you’re all set!

Chicken Cacciatore

(Adapted from Epicurious)



1 onion

1 leek

4 cloves of garlic

2 slices of smoked pancetta

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Extra Virgin olive oil

2 fresh bay leaves

1/2 a butternut squash (1 1/4 lbs)

3 1/2 ounces chestnut or cremini mushrooms (I couldn’t find either, so I bought a pack of mixed mushrooms)

2 (12-oz cans) of plum tomatoes

1 cup Chianti or other good red wine

4 chicken thighs, bone in

8 black olives

Salt and pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the onion and cut into eights, trim, wash, and slice the leek, peel and slice the garlic.



Place a large ovenproof casserole pan over medium heat. Finely chop the pancetta, pick and finely chop the rosemary leaves, then place both in the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and the bay leaves.



Stir regularly for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, followed by the onion and leek.

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, chop the squash or sweet potato (wash first) into bite-sized chunks, leaving the skin on and discarding any squash seeds. Add to the pot, sliced or whole mushrooms and the chopped squash.



Remove and discard the chicken skin, and add the chicken to the pan. Pour in the wine and let it reduce slightly.

Then add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon.


Half-fill each can with water, swirl about, pour into the pan, and mix it all together. Add the olives into the stew.



Bring to a gentle simmer, then transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour, or until thick, and the chicken falls off the bone, and the squash is tender.  Your kitchen will smell heavenly! Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.


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