Chicken cacciatore is an Italian hunter’s stew that’s made by braising chicken with tomato, aromatics and vegetables, like red peppers, onions, carrots, rosemary, olives and so on. This braise’s cozy, deep flavors are equally tasty with red lentils in place of the poultry. In less than half an hour, red lentils break down to create a creamy, rich vegetarian stew. Carrots and red peppers make it a hearty meal, but you could also eat it over pasta, polenta or farro. If serving with pasta, thin the cacciatore with a little pasta water before tossing with the noodles.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ¼cup capers, drained
- 3tablespoons tomato paste
- 5garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 ½teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½cup red wine or stock (or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar)
- 1(14-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
- ¾cup red lentils (see Tip)
Step 1In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the carrots and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and cook until just softened, 3 minutes.
Step 2Add the capers, tomato paste, garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 3Add the wine, season with salt and pepper, and cook until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4Add the tomatoes, red lentils and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, partly cover, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils start to break down and lose their shape, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir vigorously from time to time to scrape any stuck lentils from the bottom of the pot. Season generously with salt and pepper.