Talk about never shop hungry. It was just about lunchtime today, and as I was heading to get a baguette in my local Wegman's, the smell of the rotisserie chickens lured me in. I was all but finished my shopping and somehow, a rotisserie chicken just jumped into my cart. Right.
Actually, I'd sort of planned to pick one up today. I'm not yet 100% over whatever I've got, but I still feel the need to put something good on the table for dinner that isn't going to take too much time of my afternoon nap time. This is so fast, you'll think you're cheating. But the flavor is all there. And if you do what I do, you'll have a small pot of good chicken stock bubbling along side with the chicken bones and juices that don't go into dinner.
This is the absolute fastest version of this dish that I know, because the rotisserie chicken eliminates a lot of browning. I especially like the ones from Whole Foods and Wegman's because they have nothing in the but chicken and salt. All of the ingredients, if you keep the basics in your pantry, freezer and fridge, are things you probably have on hand. Pre-sliced mushrooms, frozen sliced bell pepper, frozen chopped onions and jarred garlic will all work here. My garlic and peppers were actually from our garden last season, and the onion was fresh, but using ready-to-go products works fine. This can be ready to eat in less than a half hour. Pasta, polenta or just a good chunk of bread and a green salad or vegetable will make the meal.
Rotisserie Chicken Cacciatore
& a little pot of stock
1 rotisserie chicken, plain
2T olive oil
(2 strips of bacon if you have it handy)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced raw mushrooms
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 teas minced garlic
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can plain tomato sauce
1 teas dry oregano
1/2 teas dry thyme
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
Take any strings or elastics off the rotisserie chicken, and on a cutting board, pull off the leg and thigh together from each side. Carefully, remove the breast meat with the skin attached in one piece, lay it skin side down on the cutting board and divide in half. Don't worry if it falls apart a bit, just put any bits that fall off with the thighs and breast. Set the breast and thighs aside. Place the remaining bones and such into a sauce pan, break up, and cover with water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and let simmer covered while you continue with the actual meal.
In a covered saute or fry pan, heat the olive oil and the bacon, if using, over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is brown, and remove the bacon from the pan. Place it with the chicken. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms to the fat in the pan, and when they begin to soften, add the garlic, stir well, and salt lightly. Add the red wine and cook until it, disappears. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, thyme, a little more salt and the red pepper flakes.
Check that little pot of stock. If the bones aren't still covered with liquid, add some more, and if you have anything you want to toss in there, that would taste good, go ahead, a few parsley stems, baby carrots leftover from the kids lunches, whole garlic, whatever makes your stock taste good. Pinch of salt, too.
Now, back to the tomato mixture. Stir well, bring to a simmer, and then arrange the chicken pieces skin side up in the sauce. Crumble the bacon over the top if using. Simmer about 15 minutes, and serve with something good to sop up the sauce. Serves two hungry diners, or three if you have more than one course.
After dinner, turn off the little pot of stock, strain out the bones, and chill the stock in a small container. I am absolutely sure you can find a use for this delicious chicken stock. Mine made a little over 2 cups.