About a week ago, my life improved drastically. It was in the 70’s every day and I began to remember all the incredible things that come along with spring in New York: picnics in central park, jogs along the river, brunches outside, sundresses, and walking everywhere because there’s no reason to get in a cab. But just as soon as we got a delicious taste of spring, they went and ripped it away. Rain. Cold. Misery. It’s back, and I was mad and hungry. So I made something warm and comforting to make it just a little bit better.
This variation on Chicken Cacciatore is definitely healthier than what you’d get in a restaurant, but surprisingly enough, just as tasty. Giada pulled through again with this one. The first step was to brown the chicken. I used to be severely against dredging chicken (just ask my mom). Because, obviously, that teaspoon of flour that sticks to the chicken would make me incredibly fat. Guess what, I was crazy. Not only does it add such a minimal amount of carbs/calories, but it creates this beautiful brown color that you just wont get without it. I even used whole wheat flour to avoid the refined stuff.
After you brown the chicken, you remove it from the pan and work on the sauce. The vegetable base is onions and red peppers, but I also added mushrooms because I love them and it seemed to go with the theme. If you don’t like them, just follow Giada’s version. Add the vegetables to the pan with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute. Add the wine and simmer the mixture so it begins to reduce. Finally add the tomatoes, broth, and oregano.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and put the chicken back in the pan. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. This chicken is so moist and tender, and the sauce is authentic and flavorful. I served it over some whole wheat pasta with as simple salad and it made a great rainy night meal. Still pretty angry that spring taunted me, but it’ll be back…
Nutritional Highlights: If you read this post, then you know that all the ingredients in here are healthy. It’s a low fat/calorie meal that’s high in vitamins and protein. So I’m going to tell you, instead, why you should make this recipe with organic chicken breasts. Yeah, it’s more expensive, but even I, the impovershed non-profit worker, always spring for organic when it comes to meat. Non-organic chickens are fed antibiotics, kept in terrible conditions and, because of this, are prone to all sorts of diseases. I even read that chicken feed often contains an arsinic based additive. Pretty sure that’s not good for you. Organic birds are NOT fed antibiotics, live in a cleaner environment, and are reared for at least 81 days, allowing them to grow at their natural rate (unlike conventional chickens that are pumped with growth hormones and only grow for 42). Just buy organic chicken. It’s worth the price bump.
adapted from foodnetwork.com, recipe by Giada
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, for dredging
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons drained capers (I left them out because I don’t really like them, but feel free to throw um in there)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to lightly coat.
2. In a large heavy saute pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.
3. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute the mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and garlic tover medium heat until the onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes so the wine can reduce. Then add the tomatoes, chicken broth, capers (if you want) and oregano.
5. Put the chicken back into the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally and covering with sauce.
6. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve!!