Provence or Sicily? Late summer or fall? Part coq au vin, cacciatore and ratatouille, this stew is a perfect do-ahead weekend dinner for family and friends. In one family-style serving bowl, this stew combines the freshness and colors of summer with the comfort and richness of autumm. Vibrantly spiced with paprika and red chile pepper, late-summer vegetables mingle with chicken in a rich, sweetly rounded soup of red wine, stock and tomato. Olives and capers add sharpness and zing with the stamp of the Mediterranean. Don’t crawl under that sofa-throw just yet; this stew is flirting with you on the cusp of the changing seasons.
Hunters Stew – Mediterranean Style
One chicken, broken down into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved, each half quartered
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 yellow squash, cut in 1/2″ slices, each slice halved
1 zucchini (courgette), cut in 1/2″ slices, each slice halved
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced in 1/2″ rounds
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1/2″ thick slices
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1/2″ thick slices
1 cayenne or serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, cut in chunks
8 medium white mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup pitted green olives or kalamata olives
1/4 cup capers, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon hot paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh Italian parsley for garnish
Make the stew:
Salt and pepper chicken pieces.
In a heavy pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add chicken pieces, skin-side down, in batches in one layer to pot. Cook until brown over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
In same pot add squash, zucchini, carrot, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, capers, paprika, oregano and thyme. Cook stirring, allowing vegetables to brighten in color and soften slightly, about 4 minutes. Add bay leaf, red wine, tomato paste, chicken. Add enough chicken stock to just cover chicken and vegetables. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook over medium-low heat, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and tender and sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
Serve garnished with fresh parsley leaves.
This recipe can be prepared in advance. Cool and refrigerate covered up to 1 day ahead. The vegatables may lose some of their vibrancy in color, but the flavors of the stew will develop. Rewarm gently over medium-low heat.