Sunday, 13 November 2011

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

I know that you thought I had foresaken my blog.  It's been 5 days that I've been MIA and, quite honestly, I don't have a major reason except that I'm plain tuckered out.  Yup.  This bookworm just didn't have any get up and go after a busy few days.  Between work, a karate tournament, reading a great book, getting sidetracked in the wonderfully addicting world of Pinterest  and trying new recipes I've been one busy Bookworm.  But I'm back and I have a great recipe to share!

You all know that I'm always on the lookout for easy crockpot meals.  There's nothing better than walking in the house and supper's waiting for you!  One of the best things about crockpots is that their recipes are usually pretty easy to put together.  I prepped this recipe while still in my ultra sexy fleece monkey jammies and sipping my morning java before getting the kids up for school.  {Note: nothing says sexy like a woman with bed head in pink monkey jammies.}  Seriously, all you need is about 15 minutes and you've got supper on like Donkey Kong!  The hardest part of this recipe is remembering how to spell 'cacciatore'.  Honestly, it's so simple!

I found this recipe on another blog but, as usual, I wanted to give it the old Bookworm spin.  I thought I'd jazz it up by adding 6 Italian sausages along with the chicken.  I was so excited to add another layer of flavour but the joke was on me.  All of the flavour was sucked out of the sausage (that I had squeezed out of the casings) so when you bit into a chunk of sausage ... it had no flavour whatsoever.  Not very appetizing.  Even the kids weren't impressed.  Everyone's a critic!  Lesson learned. Next time maybe I'll add cooked sausage towards the end of the 8 hours.  We'll see.  Even without the sausage it was a mighty fine meal!  Just don't forget to add the red wine -- that definitely adds a much fuller bodied taste to the dish (plus then you get to drink the rest of the bottle over supper!). 

This is one of those meals that fill you up and keep you warm the rest of the night.  It's also a meal that I could see serving to a crowd -- it's a pretty dish and makes a tonne!  But even if you're not serving a hoard o'people after a day of tobogganing or skiing this is a great meal -- that can last two suppers.  

I know what you're thinking -- two meals with 15 minutes of prep??  Can it be true, Laurie?  Yes, it can! (why do I feel like I'm suddenly on an infomercial?)  When we made this dish we had loads leftover so we added our leftover rice (we always go whole hog on making rice) to the leftover cacciatore so two days later we had a Chicken Cacciatore Rice Casserole (which Brad and I loved just as much!).  Two meals for the price (and effort) of one.  Love it!

With winter threatening us with cold winds and lots of snow I think this meal will be the perfect addition to my winter meal plan repertoire!  Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
1 can mushrooms, drained
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (5oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
1/3 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
salt, pepper and dried red pepper flakes - to taste

Serve with: rice, egg noodles

Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken thighs.  Lightly spray the ceramic liner of the crockpot with cooking spray.  Place chicken into the crockpot (ensure that the thighs are opened up and lay as flat as possible).  Add green pepper, onion, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf.  Pour canned tomatoes over chicken and vegetables.
In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, chickens tock, wine and balsamic vinegar; mix well.  Pour over chicken. 

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until chicken is tender (mine fell apart it was so tender!).  Remove bay leaf and discard.
Dissolve cornstarch in the 2 tbsp of water.  Pour cornstarch mixture into the crockpot.  Add spinach to crockpot; gently mix.  Increase temperature of crockpot to HIGH for 20 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.  Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.
Yield: 8-10 large servings

Inspired by:


DC said...

I'm making this today! I really want to peek inside (lid is foggy) but I won't. Thanks for the recipe.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

DC, I hope you enjoy it! Yes, sometimes its very hard not to open the lid of the crockpot to take a peek. :)

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