« Crispy Fried Okra | Main | Crispy Fried Okra »

Tuscan Nonna's Instant Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (totaling 1 lb, preferably organic)
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 large fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium to large red onion, diced
1/3 cup pitted black Sicilian or Kalamata olives
1/2 lb fresh cremini or white mushrooms, quartered
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped, delicious fresh tomatoes (do not seed and peel), or canned tomatoes with their juices drained
1 generous Tbsp butter

Put the chicken between pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder, rubber mallet, rolling pin or bottom of a heavy saucepan, pound chicken a few times to flatten slightly.

Film the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil. Heat oil over medium high. Add the chicken and sage leaves, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste. Sear quickly on each side. Turn heat down to medium. Sprinkle breasts with onion and olives. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until barely firm when pressed. Remove breasts to a serving platter and keep warm.

Make pan sauce: Increase heat to medium high and add mushrooms. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes then stir in garlic. Cook another minute. Blend in wine, scraping up all the brown glaze in the bottom of the pan. Simmer, uncovered, until reduced to almost nothing (1 to 2 minutes).

Blend in tomatoes and cook 3 minutes, or until thick. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the butter until barely melted and pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.


* The trick to juicy chicken breasts is a fast sear to lightly color them and then slow cooking. Remove from the pan as soon as they are just firm when pressed. Holding them for about 10 minutes in a warm place allows them to finish cooking and for their juices to settle.
* Turn this into a sauce for pasta by cutting the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and cooking as directed above, taking care not to overcook.
* For even juicier chicken breasts, refrigerate them in a brine solution for an hour. Make the brine by combining one quart water with 1/4 cup salt and 1/3 cup sugar.

Weeknight Kitchen