We are big Jamie Oliver fans. Catching him on PBS years ago, we found his cooking style and demeanor both inviting and irresistible. Any dish he concocts seems so easy to make, and we get such a kick from his wonderful Britishisms. Forget exact measurements with Jamie, as his “two glugs of olive oil,” or “a giant handful of spinach” makes his recipes all the more rustic, relatable and “brilliant!”
Recently, on one very windy and frigid February day, we were looking for some true comfort food to cozy up with by a roaring fire. One of our much loved cookbooks is Jamie’s Italy, a whirlwind collection of recipes and gorgeous photography of Jamie and the dishes he prepares with locals throughout Italy. From this, Murph chose to make this wonderful stew. Tweaked with adapted ingredients to reflect our own tastes, and what we had on hand, this is one winning, warm your heart and soul to the core recipe.
Hunter’s Chicken Stew (Pollo Alla Cacciatora)
4 lbs. chicken pieces
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
6-8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6-8 cloves fresh garlic, minced and separated – 2 minced cloves for the marinade, and the balance for the sauce.
½ bottle fruity red wine
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy filets
1 cup pitted olives, either green or black
1 28 oz. can peeled plum tomatoes with juice
Extra wide egg noodles for serving.
Marinate the chicken pieces in a large bowl with bay leaves, rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, and the red wine. Cover and marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the flour in a large bowl, mixing in least two tablespoons of salt and fresh ground pepper. Pat the chicken dry (reserve marinade) and dust in the seasoned four, shaking off the excess.
Heat a large, high-sided, lidded, ovenproof skillet (or other large pan big enough to hold all the ingredients) on the stovetop on a medium/high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, and quickly fry the chicken pieces to brown on both sides (3-4 min. per side). Reserve the chicken.
In the same pan, add the remaining minced garlic, stirring on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. When garlic is lightly brown, add anchovies, olives, tomatoes (break these up w/wooden spoon), and chicken pieces. Add the reserved marinade; bring to a boil on stovetop, then cover and place in oven for 1-½ hours.
Stir carefully, pulling out rosemary and bay leaves as they surface.
We serve this over wide egg noodles in a shallow bowl with all that beautiful sauce.