Recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine

Chicken Cacciatore

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings



  1. For the roasted half chickens: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Dry each chicken with paper towels until very dry.
  2. With a chef's knife, remove the backbone of each chicken by cutting down both sides of the backbone. Then split each chicken in half by cutting directly down the middle of the breast bone.
  3. Rub the chicken halves with the grapeseed oil and then season with the salt and pepper. Arrange the chickens on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Roast until the internal temperature in the middle of each breast is 155 degrees F., about 20 minutes. Turn the oven to a high broil and cook until the skin is evenly golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the chickens from the oven. Melt the butter in the sheet pan and baste the chicken occasionally while they rest for 10 minutes. (The chickens should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. after resting.)
  6. For the cacciatore sauce: Heat the grapeseed oil a saucepan over high heat. Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-high and saute until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers and saute for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the Tomato Sauce and tomato paste, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes and then add the basil and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. Hold hot for serving.
  8. For the semolina polenta: Combine the chicken broth and heavy cream in a small pot and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the semolina. Bring the polenta back up to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the polenta while stirring regularly for 20 minutes.
  9. Stir in the Parmesan and then season with some salt and pepper. Hold hot for serving.
  10. For the broccoli rabe: Bring 1 gallon water and 2 tablespoons salt to a rolling boil in a large pot. Set up an ice bath for shocking the rabe after blanching.
  11. Blanch the broccoli rabe in batches: Cook the rabe in the water for 45 seconds to 1 minute and then remove from the water and shock it in the ice bath. Dry the broccoli rabe with a kitchen towel.
  12. Heat a saute pan over high heat, add the grapeseed oil and saute the broccoli rabe for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top.
  13. For plating: Divide the polenta among 6 plates; drag it from one side of the plate to the other.
  14. Heat the cacciatore sauce. Place the chickens in the sauce and simmer for 1 minute before plating. Place a half chicken over the polenta and top with some cacciatore sauce. Lean 4 pieces of broccoli rabe against each chicken.

Tomato Sauce

  1. Combine the whole tomatoes, onion, olive oil, 4 cloves of the garlic, the basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a 2-gallon container or large pot and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Reduce the heat to medium, add the grapeseed oil and the remaining 4 cloves garlic and quickly saute. Add the diced tomatoes and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pureed tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat. Bring back to a simmer when you are ready to serve. Yield: 6 servings