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Smoky Skillet Cacciatore

2 pounds chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 cubanelle pepper, halved, seeded and sliced
1 small fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
1 32-ounce can fire-roasted crushed or stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
Chopped parsley or celery tops, for garnishing
Yields: 4


Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Add the mushrooms to the skillet; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, cubanelle pepper, chile and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the wine. Stir in the tomatoes and stock.

Add the cooked chicken and bacon to the sauce, and simmer to cook through, 5-6 minutes. Spoon from the pan onto plates then top with the parsley (or celery tops).

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