Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

My husband and I love Italian food and chicken cacciatore is one of our favorites. The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is perfect for this dish. It's nice and roomy and when your set time is up, it will automatically switch to "warm", so there are no worries if you can't get to your dish right away. It comes with a handy temperature probe for cooking meats, so you don't have to worry about taking the lid off (which lets all the heat out) just to check your meat temperature. There are clips that lock the lid down, which is great when you have to transport your delicious dish to those holiday gatherings!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
by Susan W.

4 chicken leg/thigh quarters
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
5 fresh tomatoes, peeled* and chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
8 ounce can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons red wine
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning chicken
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning chicken
2 bay leafs
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

Rinse and pat dry the chicken leg/thigh quarters. Season lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces in olive oil, two minutes on each side (my skillet fit just one at at time.) Transfer chicken to slow cooker and add a little more olive oil to the pan if necessary while continuing to brown all pieces.

In a large bowl, combine peeled, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, minced garlic, tomato paste, red wine, Italian seasoning, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Stir well and pour over the chicken in the slow cooker, making sure to get the sauce in between the chicken pieces. Tuck bay leafs into the sauce.

Set slow cooker to "low" and set the timer for 6 hours. When the time is up, add sliced mushrooms, set the timer for another 1 1/2 hours and continue to cook, making sure the slow cooker is still set to the "low" setting. When the timer goes off the second time, the cooker will switch to "warm".

When done, remove chicken meat from the bones (it should be falling off the bone at this point.) Place meat back into the slow cooker, stir and keep cooker on the "warm" setting. Discard bones.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Serve chicken over hot spaghetti and don't forget a nice green salad and some great bread!

*To easily peel tomatoes: Make an "x" in the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife (do not cut too deep, you only need a shallow cut.) Boil a pot of water and have a bowl of ice water standing by. When water is rapidly boiling, place one or two tomatoes at a time in the boiling water and leave in for just 15 seconds. Remove from boiling water and then immediately immerse tomatoes in ice water to stop the cooking process. Continue until all tomatoes are done. Remove from ice water and viola! Skin will peel right off!

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