Though I don’t talk about it much on The Carnivore and the Vegetarian, I’m a huge fan of Top Chef. I have watched it for years now and just a few weeks ago, the challenge included making Italian comfort foods. One dish that struck me as amazing, though didn’t win, was Fabio Viviani’s Chicken Cacciatore. The sauce looked incredible and not like versions I’ve made or had before. This version includes a sauce made from sauteing mushrooms, onions and then adding red wine and stock, reducing it for a delicious sauce.
What makes this dish great for this blog is that you make the sauce in one dish and the chicken in another, then top the chicken with sauce and bake. This is easily translated into a tofu version for the vegetarian. You just need to fry the tofu, dredged in flour and top with the same sauce. The sauce came out rich and delicious and the only thing I might have done differently was the tomatoes I used. Anyway, on to the recipe.
1 whole chicken, cut in 1/16, or pre-cut chicken thighs, legs etc.
1 block extra firm tofu, drained of water and pressed
1 large red onion, 1/4 inch dice
1 pound button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 28 ounce can tomatoes diced (I used crushed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon rosemary (dry is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano (dry)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil, such as grapeseed
In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, until carmelized, about 10 minutes.
Add red wine and chicken stock, increase heat to a boil and lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes (uncovered).
Add tomatoes and seasoning (oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper). Reduce heat to low.
Preheat oven to 375.
While sauce reduces, heat a dutch oven with 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium-high heat. Also heat a small skillet with 1 tablespoon oil for tofu. Pat chicken and tofu dry and dredge in flour. Cook chicken in single layer batches in dutch oven until golden brown. Do the same with tofu and then set both aside.
Place chicken back into dutch oven and top with sauce. In another small oven safe dish add tofu and top with sauce. Bake both, covered for 35-45 minutes, until chicken is tender. Serve with turnip and parsnip “risotto.” Enjoy!!
Turnip and Parsnip “Risotto”
Adapted from Mario Batali’s Recipe
Serves 4 as a side dish
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds of turnips and parsnips, 1/8″ dice
1 medium onion, 1/8″ dice
2 cups chicken stock, hot
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parsley, optional (I didn’t have any on hand)
In a medium pan, add olive oil and heat over medium. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, until light brown. Add turnip and parsnips and cook 2 minutes. Begin adding stock, one ladle at a time, stirring and letting all the stock evaporate before adding more. Continue adding stock until the parsnip and turnips are tender and fragrant. This should take about 10-15 minutes. If you run out of stock before tender, cover and let steam briefly.
Stir in cheese and butter, remove from heat (recipe calls to stir in parsley, if using). Serve immediately.