Giada De Laurentiis is a chicken cacciatore expert: She's been making variations of it for years. For this exceptional version, the chef roasts a whole bird with red wine butter under the skin, on a bed of fennel, cherry tomatoes and Peppadew peppers.
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One 3 1/2-pound chicken
5 thyme sprigs
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 basil sprigs, plus leaves for garnish
4 oregano sprigs
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small fennel bulb, cut into 3/4-inch wedges through the core
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup pearl onions
8 jarred sweet Peppadew peppers, halved
6 baby bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and chopped
How to Make It
Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons of salt and stuff the thyme sprigs in the cavity. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top; refrigerate overnight.
In a saucepan, boil the wine over moderately high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the tomato paste, butter and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Loosen the breast and thigh skin of the chicken and spread three-fourths of the red wine butter under the skin. Stuff the basil sprigs, oregano sprigs and garlic into the cavity and tie the legs with string. Rub the remaining butter over the chicken and let stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep ovenproof skillet, toss the fennel, tomatoes, onions, both peppers and olive oil; season with salt. Set the chicken in the center of the vegetables. Pour in the stock. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 155°. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes.
Simmer the broth over moderately high heat until slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Stir in the olives and transfer to a platter. Carve the chicken and arrange on the platter. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Barbera pairs easily with food, even when it's young.
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