A few posts back I talked about how I needed to get into using my slow cooker more than I do. I like it but just don’t utilize it like I should be doing. I think I am coming along nicely though in trying to incorporate it into my life on a more regular basis. I have been using it once a week now which is a vast improvement over once a month or so like I was doing. Last night I decided that I would go with a recipe that I have made before and my family loves but I just don’t make it nearly as much as I should.
I came up with this recipe about two years ago. My mom’s birthday always falls on or around Mother’s Day and I decided to take her out to dinner and to see a musical as her gift for both. I picked a restaurant in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago since it was near the theater we would be heading to after we ate. When I decided on the restaurant I knew my mother would be pleased with my choice, it was Topo Gigio Ristorante. My mother is a big Topo Gigio fan and I remember her talking about it growing up. My grandfather was from Sicily and Topo Gigio was originally an Italian and Spanish TV series which starred an adorable little mouse. Little Topo Gigio became popular in the U.S. though after being on the Ed Sullivan show. So the decor of Topo Gigio, complete with the iconic mouse dolls, figurines and shirts brought a smile to her face. Then we sat down and looked at the menu. The selections were amazing and we both loved what we ordered but I knew my husband would love what my mom ordered, the POLLETTO con SALSICCIA alla CACCIATORA. So I set out to recreate a home version. That was how my Slow Cooker Chicken & Italian Sausage Cacciatore was born.
Many people have had chicken cacciatore but adding the Italian sausage just adds another layer of flavor to this dish and cooking it in the slow cooker allows the flavors to really come together. This is a very hearty meal and it makes a lot, like dinner party sized or my family. I have made this as one of the meat options at holidays and it is always a hit.
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (your preference)
- 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (I prefer hot but you can use mild.)
- 1 lg. onion sliced thin
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- 1 green bell pepper chopped into 1" pieces
- 3 6 oz. cans tomato paste
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. capers
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. celery powder or flakes
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 3/4 c. dry white wine
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Lightly brown the Italian sausage. I do this since the sausage can be greasy and can make the sauce greasy then too. Slice the sausage into 3-4" long pieces. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces. For breast cut into thirds and thighs cut in half.
- Place the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker and then top with the meats. Next add the mushrooms and greens pepper. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and then pour over the meats and vegetables.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice or pasta.
- I serve mine of orzo since it's a rice shaped pasta and I like the best of both worlds.
- This will make a lot of food. If you are trying to feed a family of two or three you can divide this in two and freeze half before cooking for a second slow cooker meal.
Do you ever eat something in a restaurant and then go home and try to recreate it?
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