Not Your Traditional Cacciatore

When I think of chicken cacciatore I think of a simple, tomato based preparation made with white wine shallots and mushrooms, one of our favorite classics. This cacciatore is more like cacciatore meets caponata, with sweet peppers, eggplant and zucchini in a vinegar based sauce, an excellent variation that is simple to make and worth trying.

 Pollo alla cacciatora con miele e cacao
Chicken cacciatore with honey and cocoa
Based on the recipe in I Sapori della Cucina Siciliana

6 chicken thighs, washed and dried with the skin removed
Olive oil for browning the chicken and vegetables
1 onion, chopped fine
2 sweet peppers (one red and one yellow), cut in strips
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut in ¾ inch cubes
1 zucchini, sliced
1 bay leaf
½ t dried rosemary
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 T capers, drained
¼ cup green olives, cut in half
Salt to taste
Cocoa and honey to garnish

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken and all the vegetables.  Add the chicken and brown over high heat. Remove the chicken and cover to keep warm. In the same Dutch oven brown the onion over medium heat, about 5-10 minutes. Add the peppers, eggplant, zucchini, chicken pieces, bay leaf, rosemary and vinegar. Cook at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes and add the capers and olives. Continue to cook for additional 30 minutes adding more vinegar if the mixture becomes too dry.  Correct the salt. When finished cooking, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and garnish with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cocoa.

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