It doesn’t seem like it could actually get much colder or more miserable around this winter and February has only just begun. We have had enough snow already with more in the forecast for this week to go along with pretty frigid temperatures pretty much every day of the week for the last two weeks. When the weather gets like this, the thoughts of cooking meals, for me at least, turn to things that are warm, rustic and comforting. You want a meal that is going to make you feel warm all over when you eat it. This is the time of year when things like stews and soups are great, and this particular recipe turned out to be somewhat like a stew. I had seen the recipe from Guy Fieri on the Food Network not long ago and it made use of some of the basics around the house to produce a nice chicken thigh and sausage cacciatore so I thought I would give it a try.
Chicken Thigh and Italian Sausage Cacciatore
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage, cut into large pieces
6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 head garlic, roasted
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup marinara sauce
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat and add the sausage pieces, searing them until they are browned all over, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate and set them aside. Sprinkle the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper, then sear the chicken in the Dutch oven, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate and set it aside.
Add the mushrooms, pearl onions, red peppers, roasted garlic and the red pepper flakes to the pot and season them with salt and pepper. Saute the mixture until the vegetables are softened and the pearl onions become translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the red wine and bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes, deglazing the pan and scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.
In a large roasting pan add the browned sausages and the chicken thighs, the sautéed vegetables and the chicken stock and marinara sauce. Tie the thyme and rosemary into a bundle using butcher’s twine or kitchen twine and add it to the pan. Stir all of the ingredients together and transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Cook until the chicken thighs are cooked through and tender and the sauce has thickened, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the herb bundle and serve the cacciatore on a large serving platter, garnished with the parsley.
I did make a couple of changes to the recipe as I went along. I removed the skin from the chicken thighs as I thought it would get flabby during the cooking even after searing it and there was already enough fat in the dish from the sausage. I also used a mix of different colored peppers, using red, yellow and orange peppers. Finally I added some grape tomatoes along with the marinara sauce to give the dish a little more flair and fresh flavor. I loved the mix of the chicken and sausage and all of the vegetables together and I served this over rice and it was delicious. I think you could also serve this with pasta, noodles or even a risotto and it would be just as good and the leftovers tasted even better the next day for lunch with the flavors having a chance to meld even more.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!