Chicken Hunter Style

(Pollo alla Cacciatora)

  • 1 ounce dried wild Italian mushrooms and 1 cup warm water or 1/2 pound fresh brown mushrooms, thinly sliced, and 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed or whole tomatoes
  • 1 (3 to 3 1/2 pound) frying chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 4 slices and diced
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine or dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Soak dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes; drain. Strain and reserve liquid. Rinse mushrooms under cold running water. Squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible; set aside. If using fresh mushrooms, sauté in 2 tablespoons oil until golden; set aside.

Press tomatoes through food mill or sieve and discard seeds.

Wash chicken pieces and dry thoroughly. Spread flour on aluminum foil. Coat chicken pieces with flour. Heat oil in large heavy heatproof casserole. Add garlic and chicken. Brown chicken on all sides over medium heat. Discard garlic. Remove chicken from casserole. Add onion to casserole and sauté until pale yellow. Add pancetta and sauté a few minutes longer.

Return chicken to casserole. Increase heat and pour wine over. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Add tomato pulp. Add dried mushrooms with reserved liquid. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Turn and baste chicken a few times while cooking. Add fresh mushrooms to casserole during last 5 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 4

Adapted from Biba’s Northern Italian Cooking. 2002. By Biba Caggiano, HP Books