After a long day at work, wouldn’t it be nice to arrive home, greeted with the savory aroma of dinner cooking? You don’t need a personal chef….just a slow-cooker. Also known as a “crock-pot”, a slow-cooker is an electric casserole that cooks food with a steady, moist heat. Designed to cook food over a period of several hours, usually 8 to 12 hours, they use minimal energy and don’t heat up the kitchen.
Another great feature about slow-cooker meals, is that more economical pieces of meat are literally cooked until the meat falls off the bone, deliciously simmering with vegetables, herbs and spices. Lamb shanks, stewing chickens, beef briskets, even rabbits, become infused with layers of flavor, and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
The recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is a very flexible one and can be adapted for a wide variety of ingredients. Cacciatore, Italian for hunter, is a style of cooking that usually includes mushrooms, onions, and peppers in a seasoned tomato sauce. I use earthy, locally harvested, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms from my freezer. Portabellos, buttons, shiitakes are also delicious. Chopped tomatoes, tomato paste or pasta sauce and wine provides the simmering liquid.
While cooking the rice or pasta, be sure to taste your creation. Often foods cooked over a long period of time will lose some flavor. Seasoning is critical to the finished product…add some herbs, chopped fresh parsley, perhaps thicken the sauce with some tomato paste. Then pour a glass of wine, relax and enjoy!
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 - 4 pounds bone-in chicken, cut into pieces (skin may be remove if desired)
- 2 cups Wild Mushroom Pasta & Pizza Sauce or tomato paste or chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine or chicken broth
- 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 green pepper
- 2 garlic cloves (more if desired)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- salt & fresh pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- In the bowl of the crockpot, put the chopped onion on the bottom. Add the cut-up chicken pieces. Mix together the remaining ingredients, and pour over the chicken. Be sure the liquid covers the chicken completely. If it does not, add chicken stock to cover.
- Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, or on high from 3 to 4 hours.