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Nov 2, 2006 09:04 PM

help! I tried Cook's Illustreated chicken cacciatore- it's awful

I followed the recipe from the Cook's Illustrated website and made it with red wine as called for and I think it is awful. Has anyone else ever tried this recipe? Is it me or is it the recipe?

Should i throw it out? Is there anything I can do to save it? Thanks

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  1. Why do you think it awful? Depending on what the problem is, there are any number of ways to save it, from seasoning to thickening, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      It does not have a good flavor like you get with other chicken thighs, browned and simmered in tomatoes and white wine etc recipes.
      Also the red wine stained the chicken a most unappetizing color. How can I save this? THANK YOU!

      1. re: vozick

        I'm not familiar with the Cook's Illustrated cacciatore, but I've made the dish before from other sources. Did your recipe call for tomatoes? I would probably add some more tomatoes, maybe roasted, as their red color might help dilute the red wine shade you find unappealing.

        You could also take out the chicken pieces and run them briefly under the broiler to give the skin a browner, less red-winey coloring.

        Have you considered adding some concentrated chicken flavor, like a bit of "Better than Boullion," to give the dish a more intense chicken flavor?

        Also, sometimes simply adding salt and pepper and simmering the dish a little longer to let the flavors meld is all a dish needs to come together.

        If I were you, I'd experiment a bit before throwing it out. If you are going to chuck it anyway, you really can't do any harm. Other things that would compliment a traditional cacciatore would include garlic and herbs (oregano, dried basil, maybe some bay leaf), caramelized onions, or roasted peppers.

    2. Unfortunately 'awful' doesn't give us much of an idea of what is wrong with it. It just means you don't like it.


      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        It has an almost gamey taste. I used FRESH kosher chicken thighs. It is not spoiled it is just raw tasting, not finished and rounded as a white wime dish would be. I used chianti for the dry red wine. I took this recipe right from the website.

          1. re: vozick


            I am a big cacciatore fan andI prefer white wine in most chicken recipes as well and can't quite put my finger on it, I think the discolored chicken meat is one part, a heavily wooded chianti may overpower with the wood aging taste as well. Joy of Cooking suggests you use the wine you prefer in its cacciatore recipe if I recall correctly. Coq au vin calls for red wine and I tried a terrific stuffed thigh recipe that called for a bottle of chianti and was terrific, but lost the recipe.


            1. re: vozick

              "Fresh". When you purchased it - did you cook it right away? Or leave it a day or so in the frig? It sounds to me like it was the chicken. I've had instances where I've bought what should have been "fresh", and it wasn't. It happens. Shouldn't, but it can.

          2. The CI recipe has all of the herbs and tomatoes. CI always removes the skin from thighs after browning them in order to make fond.

            1. Perhaps rinse and drain the chicken, then boil (or bake), then use in chicken salad or something.

              1. If the meat tastes odd to you there is the possibility that it spent too long unrefrigerated before you got it and it DID get spoiled. Gamey is not a word I want associated with my chicken. Once in a blue moon there can be a slip up. Depending on your chutzpah you can return the label and your receipt to the store and ask for a refund, or credit. I would.

                That being said, if you feel there is really no possibility it is spoiled, you need to repair it or toss it and just don't torture yourself. Got any more of that chianti? Have a glass and cook something else or order some delivery.

                To repair it you need to cut up the meat and discard the skin, discard the bad sauce. Cutting the meat into pieces allows the cover-up flavors to contact more surface area and other ingredients to mix in better. I would probably take the cut up meat, make a simple canned tomato, fried minced onion, garlic, chopped fresh veg. (whatever you have on hand - sliced zuchini, bell pep.), al dente pasta - casserole, with parmesan if you don't keep kosher at home, and bake it at 350 for about a half hour.