Sometimes you get tired of the same, old same-old when cooking—especially when cooking chicken. I found a fantastic recipe for chicken cacciatore in the May 2014 issue of Food and Wine Magazine. It is offered by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, and calls for Peppadew peppers, Castelvetrano olives (new to me and very tasty), baby bell peppers, and fresh fennel bulb, along with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes & pearl onions. The whole chicken is stuffed with thyme sprigs and set in the refrigerator overnight before you even begin the main preparation. Then you make a red wine reduction sauce with tomato paste and butter, and layer it under the skin before roasting (with fresh garlic and herbs inside) and the veggies.
I had never made or tasted anything quite like this. The peppers and specialty olives made for a zesty accent, yet all of the ingredients together created a mellow and rich flavor, at once comforting and sophisticated. The chicken itself was tender, and offered itself up for seconds. The platter was clean at the end of our family dinner–down to the last pearl onion.
(I made one substitution: since Peppadew pepers are hard to find, I substituted Mezzetta’s sweet cherry peppers. I’m sure the real thing would make this dish even more fantastic.)