Pollo alla cacciatora
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The hint of orange rind and the tang of the olives make this chicken dish very special.
Prep time: 30 mins | Total time: 2 hours | Servings: 6
- 1 medium chicken, cut into small pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
- 4 sticks of celery
- 4 carrots
- 2 onions
- 5 cloves of garlic
- A handful of sage (10 leaves)
- Half a bottle of decent red wine
- Olive oil
- A bay leaf
- Dried sage and rosemary (a good pinch)
- A handful of black olives
- Juice of half an orange and a little orange zest
- At least 1 hour before you make the dish (even 24 hours before), marinade the pieces of chicken in the red wine with a good pinch of dried rosemary and sage and some salt (Italian stores sell this as “salamoia”. Use this if you can get it)
- Prepare a vegetable stock by boiling a litre (2 pints) of water with a stick of celery, a carrot and an onion (either whole or in large pieces) and a good bouillon cube for at least an hour.
- Take the remaining celery, carrots and onion, and with the sage and parsley, chop into coarse pieces with a mezzaluna or knife.
- Drain the chicken (trying to get as much liquid off it). Reserve the wine.
- Heat some oil (be generous) in a pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Careful that you don’t get burned by the hot oil spitting!
- Add the vegetables to the chicken, and cook for a few minutes on a high heat, mixing well.
- Squash the garlic (leave whole) and add this to the frying vegetable mixture. Cook until the vegetables are soft 10-15 minutes).
- Add 2 or 3 ladlefuls of stock, partially cover the pan and begin to cook on a low flame.
- When the liquid has almost evaporated, add a ladleful of the wine from the marinade.
- Continue the slow cooking, alternating the stock and the wine, for another 30-40 minutes or so (the times depend on the type of chicken and size of the pieces).
- When the chicken is almost cooked (test it with a knife – it should be soft but not falling off the bone), add the bay leaf, olives, the orange zest (don’t overdo it, a few inches of peel should do) and the orange juice.
- Continue cooking (alternating stock and wine) until the chicken is completely cooked and tender (it should come off the bone very easily).
- Remove the bay leaf before serving.