Growing Chefs! Ontario Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Cacciatore translates to hunter’s style, so there are as many versions as there are hunters! Each version will use ingredients found in the area of where they are cooked – rosemary, potatoes and… anchovies? In this dish, the anchovies add an umami taste but without any fishiness!
Serves 4
4 tablespoons olive oil1 chicken (about 1.5 kg, jointed into 8 pieces)6 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch wedges2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed8 anchovy fillets a sprig of rosemary, or a good pinch of dried/fresh oregano a pinch of dried red chili flakes250 millilitres dry white wine or water Salt to taste
Measuring spoonsMeasuring cupsMixing bowls of various sizesWooden spoonLarge ovenproof frying panCutting boardChef's knifeParing or boning knifeTasting spoonsDish towel

Get Organized!

Gather your mise en place; get together all of the equipment needed for the recipe and gather your ingredients.

Get Prepped!

Preheat the oven to 400°F

Lay the bird on its back. Wiggle a wing to determine where the joint attaches to the breast. To separate the wing from the breast, use a sharp knife to cut through the ball joint where it meets the breast. Repeat with the other wing.

Pull a leg away from the body to see where it attaches. To remove the whole leg, first cut through the skin between the thigh and the breast.

Continue to pull on the leg and wiggle it a bit to determine where the thigh meets the socket in the back. Use a boning knife or paring knife to cut through that joint. Repeat with the other leg.

Place each leg skin-side down. With your hand and knife, bend the leg to feel for the ball joint. That’s where the drumstick and thigh are connected. Then, look for the thin line of fat that runs along the ball joint. Cut through the line of fat to separate the thigh and drumstick. Wiggle the joint as needed so it’s easy to cut. Repeat with the other leg.

To remove the backbone, start at the head end of the bird and cut through the rib cage on one side of the backbone with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Repeat on the other side of the backbone to remove it completely.

Now cut the breast into two halves. Place the breast skin-side down. To protect your hand, fold a kitchen towel and place it on top of a heavy, sharp knife. Use your weight to cut through the breast bone and cartilage down the center of the breast.

Now that you have two breast halves, cut each breast half in half again, crosswise. The wishbone is located at the thick part of the breast. If you want, you can tease the meat away from the two pieces of wishbone using your hands and/​or a sharp knife to scrape the meat from the bone.

Wash and cut the potatoes into 1 inch wedges.

Crush and peel the garlic cloves.

Get Cooking!

In a large, deep, ovenproof frying pan or casserole that can fit the chicken and potatoes in one layer, warm the olive oil over a medium heat. Adding them skin-side down, brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Then lift the chicken onto a plate and set aside.

In the remaining oil and chicken fat (you may pour some away if you feel there is too much) and over a low heat, fry the garlic and anchovies, nudging the anchovies so they disintegrate and dissolve into the oil.

Add herbs and chili, then the potatoes, and stir until each wedge glistens.

Return the chicken to the pan, fitting the pieces between the potatoes – it doesn’t matter if it is a tight fit as it will shrink. Pour over the wine, season cautiously (remember the anchovies are salty!) and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes while the wine bubbles away.

Transfer it to the oven for 40 minutes, basting the potatoes every 15 minutes. There will be lots of oily gravy!