- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes, hand crushed
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1-1½ cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup medium-ground polenta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon mixed chopped herbs (parsley and basil)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
I love this recipe because it's a hearty and simple comfort food that everyone loves. It's also a very affordable dish and you can make it ahead of time.
Technique tips: For a next-day dish, debone and chop leftover chicken and mix with sauce, heat and add to cooked pasta. If sauce is thin, remove lid while simmering to help evaporate extra moisture and thicken it.
Swap options: Swap polenta for roasted potatoes, risotto, pasta, etc. Swap Kalamata olives for Castelvetrano or Niçoise olives.
For the cacciatore:1.
Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.2.
Add olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12- to 14-inch straight-sided sauté pan or similar and place chicken thighs skin-side down. Brown both sides until golden brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken thighs from the pan and reserve.3.
Add chopped onion and minced garlic, and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 4 to 6 minutes.4.
Add 4 thyme sprigs, chopped oregano, chopped basil, yellow peppers, carrots and pepper flakes, and season with salt. Sauté 4 to 5 minutes to combine flavors, until vegetables are slightly brown.5.
Add mushrooms and tomato paste and mix in thoroughly.6.
Add the red wine and stir, stirring in any bits of caramelized bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce wine by half, add chicken stock and canned plum tomatoes, mix well and bring the mixture to a boil.7.
Return chicken thighs and any of their juices to the pan, skin-side up, submerging them in the liquid. Return pan to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat on the stove top or in a 350 F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until chicken thighs are tender.8.
Remove lid, add olives and let reduce or return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes until sauce thick and luscious. The chicken should almost be falling off the bone at this point. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper as needed.
For the polenta:1.
Bring chicken stock and milk to a boil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Season with salt and pepper.2.
Gradually sprinkle polenta into hot liquid while whisking constantly to evenly incorporate. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer while stirring frequently to ensure the polenta doesn't stick to the bottom, about 30 minutes.3.
Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste and add chopped herbs.
Serve the chicken and vegetables with some of the sauce over creamy polenta and garnish with thyme sprigs and chopped parsley.