Chicken Cacciatore

This is a great winter dish. You can make it with game birds, rabbit or pork but I prefer chicken legs, both thigh and drumstick. Serve over soft polenta with shaved Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, a salad and you are ready to dine.

4 servings

4 whole chicken legs split into legs and thighs
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups white wine
2 onions sliced cross-wise from top to bottom
½ - ¾ ounce porcini dried mushrooms reconstituted in warm water (save the water) or your favorite fresh mushrooms about a generous cup, sliced
1 can Italian plum tomatoes with the juice
soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons lightly packed sage leaves, finely sliced
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Soak the mushrooms in warm water to cover if using the dried porcini. Once reconstituted squeeze out the water from the porcini and strain through a fine sieve. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and bring them to room temperature as you gather and prep the other ingredients

In a large braising pan sauté the legs and thighs in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook down until caramelized. Add the tomato paste and cook several minutes stirring then add tomatoes and juice, wine and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Add mushrooms, soaking liquid and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and herbs. Reduce to a simmer cover and cook for about 45 minutes until the sauce is reduced and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve over a soft polenta and shave Parmesan or Pecorino cheese on top.