Creamy Chicken Cacciatore

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Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian but in cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style,” often with beef cake tomatoes, a mixture of mushrooms, bold onions, garden herbs, zippy bell peppers and red wine. I make mine with braised chicken.

When the first few steps are finished, the braising of the chicken, sautéing  the vegetables, and deglazing the pan, sit back for an hour or two and enjoy the aromatics. Relax. It’s a jungle out there.

Creamy Chicken Cacciatore
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast with skin
  • 10 oz mixed mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 26 oz. tomatoes, chopped
  • Assorted herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and oregano.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into a heated pan.
  3. Place chicken skin side down and don’t move it until it reaches a deep golden brown.
  4. Brown the other side for a few minutes.
  5. Remove chicken and set aside.
  6. Add vegetables, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and a few twigs of thyme.
  7. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes.
  8. Add wine and reduce.
  9. Add chicken broth and tomatoes.
  10. Toss in a teaspoon of salt, pepper and chopped basil.
  11. Place chicken back into the pan and sink into the juices.
  12. Simmer on low for an hour or two uncovered.
  13. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  14. Add the pot of vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth.
  15. Return to the pot.
  16. Stir in the cream.
  17. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  18. Garnish with parsley.
  19. Serve with pasta, polenta, or rustic bread.

 

The Margerum M5’s blend of five commandos (Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre, Counoise, and Cinsault) is bright and tight. The intense and bombastic amalgamation of flavors pairs well with hunter food.

Movie night suggestion. A very fit and very on-his-game Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his special ops team come face-to-face with a camouflaged enemy. The team elite finds themselves hunted by a terrifying and formidable alien being in Predator (1987). The film starts out as an action flick and delivers all the explosions and gunplay you’d expect from a bunch of muscle heads on the loose in a South American jungle. Predator quickly turns into a cat and mouse horror movie with a mysterious monster that still looks freaky and fantastical to this day.

Film trivia: Most of the film was shot under the original title “Hunter.”

The film provided a variety of hardships for the actors, such as leeches, snakes, humidity, heat and rough and rugged terrain.

All of the night scenes were filmed during freezing-cold temperatures, which was especially hard on Schwarzenegger during the second half of the film when the mud he had to wear became cold and wet. He shivered non-stop, even when they tried to warm him with lamps (it made the pottery clay dry out). He tried drinking jagertee—a Schnapps mixture—to warm him but that just got him drunk.

Kevin Peter Hall who plays the alien is 7’2 (now that’s a tall drink of dreadlocks).

The original concept for this film originated as a joke. Someone said that the only person Rocky Balboa of the Rocky (1976) series of films had yet to fight was ET (1982).

Shane Black hated the glasses he was given to wear as Hawkins. He wanted to wear authentic military-issue ballistic glasses worn by actual troops in the field, but the director (John McTiernan) wanted him to look as geeky as possible.

The predator’s blood, a gorpy substance with the color of Mountain Dew, was made on set using a mixture of glow stick liquid and KY jelly.

Shane Black is a writer. The producer wanted Black, who was writing Lethal Weapon (1987), close to him to review the script.

Due to safety regulations, Schwarzenegger was not allowed to light his cigar inside the helicopter. As a result the glow was added optically in post-production.

The mandibles of the predator were the idea of James Cameron.

All the actors are wearing Vietnam-era surplus canvas gear, not the more modern (post 1965) nylon.

This film had the second biggest opening weekend of 1987. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) had the first.

This was a spec script that accidentally found its way to 20th Century Fox.