My version of chicken cacciatore will have your audience thinking that you were simmering a meal on the stove for hours. The chicken is so soft, and infused with Italian flavors of garlic, basil, oregano, and tomatoes. When you start to sauté the onions and garlic on the stove, your whole home will smell like a trattoria. You could make your own tomato sauce, but I like to make this dish the least labor intensive way possible.
This is also an impressive, flavorful meal for guests who show up last minute. I usually have some form of chicken in my freezer and tomato sauce in my pantry. My house is always stocked with herbs, onions, and garlic, as well, so this is one of my emergency arsenal dishes that don't require a last minute panicked trip to the store.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can substitute THICK boneless skinless chicken breasts, too, but thighs will be more tender)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced into rings
2 8oz. cans of tomato sauce
1/2 can water
1 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and heat it.
2. Mince garlic, slice the onion into rings, mince the oregano (and if you are using fresh basil, mince that, as well.)
3. Place garlic and onion slices in the heated pan. Sauté the onions and garlic while stirring them.
4. Add the chicken to the bed of onions, and season it with the salt, basil, and oregano. At this point the onions will not be entirely soft. They will caramelize as the chicken starts to cook through. The trick is to keep the onions and garlic in motion with a spoon so they don't burn.
5. After about 5 minutes, add the 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 can water, and sugar. Give it a stir. Make sure the chicken isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan, and blend the sugar and water into the gravy.
6. Cover the pan and lower the heat on the stove to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes to cook the chicken through, let the seasonings work their magic so the dish comes together. Peek in on it maybe once or twice giving it a little stir along the way.
7. While it's simmering, you can prepare my Easy Zucchini for a side dish, or let it sit stove top for up to an hour on low heat. The longer you cook this, the more the flavors will permeate the poultry. Or, after about 30 minutes of concentrated cooking, you can just serve it if you are pressed for time. Be sure to smother the cacciatore with plenty of gravy and onions when you serve it.