TART CHICKEN ALLA CACCIATORA
Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce
Signora Cibocchi's Tart Chicken Alla Cacciatora
Alla. cacciatore, meaning "cooked the hunter's way," probably once described methods for cooking game, but Italians use the term today to mean any number of stovetop methods for cooking every kind of meat, domesticated or otherwise. No doubt it was the hunter's wife who did the cooking. Such is the case at Ristorante Cibocchi, a little out-of-the-way trattoria in the region of Umbria where the owner's aunt is behind the stove. Her version of chicken alla cacciatora is a zesty combination of chopped lemon, peel and all, fresh rosemary, and sage.
• 3½ pound free-range or organic chicken, including giblets, cut up
• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 5 cloves garlic, cut into small pieces
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
• 1/3 cup pitted, brine-cured tart green olives such as picholine, sliced
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons good-quality dry white wine
• 1½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
• 1 lemon slice, 1/4 inch thick, seeded and minced, including peel
• pinch of red pepper flakes
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1. Rinse the chicken pieces, dry well, and trim off all excess fat. Trim any dark spots, fat, and membrane from the liver and heart and dice. Trim the tough outer layer from the gizzards and chop.
2. In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet ample enough for all of the chicken pieces without crowding, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is sizzling hot, add the chicken pieces. Allow them to brown nicely and evenly on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
3. Drain off a tablespoon or two of the fat from the pan. Add the garlic, onion, rosemary, and sage, all at once. Saute over low heat until the garlic and onion are thoroughly cooked but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, and olives. Use a -wooden spoon to toss all the ingredients together. Pour in the wine and add the vinegar, capers, lemon, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cover partially and cook until the chicken is done or registers 165° F on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup water if the chicken dries out.
4. Transfer the chicken and its sauce to a warmed platter and serve immediately.