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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • Chef’s knife
  • Heavy skillet
  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Paring knife
  • Salad spinner
  • Sheet pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Strainer
  • Tongs
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Wooden spoons


Shopping List

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 large head lettuce
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • One 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 pkg. instant polenta

Pantry Items

  • Bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Dijon mustard
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Unsalted butter


When you walk in the door

  • Don’t refrigerate the chicken
  • Get out Pantry Items
  • Get out Tools
  • Assemble the ingredients
  • Open the wine and pour yourself a glass


  • Fill large saucepan with 6 cups water, 1 bay leaf, and 1-1/2 tsps. salt and put it over high heat
  • Peel and mince the onion.
  • Peel the celery stalks, and thinly slice them.
  • Peel and mince the shallot.
  • Separate the leaves of lettuce, wash, and spin them dry.
  • Tear them into large, bite-sized pieces.
  • Rinse and pat dry the parsley. Pluck 1 cup leaves.
  • Separate 2 sprigs rosemary from the bunch.


  • Melt 4 tbsps. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, to add to the cooked polenta. When it’s melted, remove it from the heat.
  • Heat 2 tbsps. oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts on the skin side, season with salt and pepper, and brown them only on their skin side, which will take about 5 minutes. If the chicken is browning too fast, turn down the heat to medium.
  • If the pan is crowded, brown the chicken in two batches.
  • When the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan.
  • Add the onions, the celery, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes to the pan, stir, and season lightly with salt. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Mince the parsley.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions, stir, then add the minced parsley and the rosemary sprigs and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Put the chicken breasts into the pan with the tomato sauce, along with any juices, pushing it down into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer – you might have to increase the heat.
  • Make sure the sauce is at a steady simmer, cover the chicken, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk the polenta into the boiling, salted water in the large saucepan.
  • Keep whisking until the polenta thickens, and turn down the heat if it starts popping out of the pan at you. Cook and whisk the polenta for 5 minutes. Take the polenta off the stove and whisk in the melted butter and the ½ cup Parmigiano. Cover and forget about it for now.
  • Make the vinaigrette for the salad now: Put 1 tbsp. vinegar into a bowl, and whisk in a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. mustard.
  • Whisk in the shallot, then whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Taste it for seasoning. Put the lettuce leaves in the bowl, but DON’T TOSS THEM YET!
  • Set the table and check your Facebook and Twitter.
  • Check the chicken – it should be cooked all the way through. If it isn’t, leave it on the heat for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the polenta to a bowl, remove the bay leaf, and garnish with some herb sprigs.
  • Now you can toss, toss, toss the salad.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs from the chicken and either serve it in the pan or transfer it to a large, shallow platter, and garnish with herb sprigs.
  • Get some help taking everything to the table. Don’t forget the wine!
Keyword Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta