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Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s hunter’s chicken stew

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s hunter’s chicken stew

A fresh new recipe from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura. This hunter’s chicken stew makes a delightful family meal for the ‘almost cold, almost not’ nights that we tend to get around Sydney in spring. 

I honestly can’t stop cooking from Julia’s new book. I liked her first, Ostro, very much indeed, but it is this one, her second that has my heart. There’s not a recipe in here that my family wouldn’t enjoy. They are also really well thought out and easy-to-follow, just as a recipe should be.

It bothers me a great deal when steps seem to be missing from a recipe. I cook from sites like Taste and what not a lot, but I seem to be confused by their recipes more often than not. I cook and bake a lot too, so I can only imagine how baffling the recipes sometimes are for beginners or those who aren’t confident.

No such problems with recipes from Julia like hunter’s chicken stew. She instinctively seems to know that a cook can get distracted (she has a young child, after all) and writes her recipes accordingly. You won’t be left wondering how you possibly managed to end up with three leftover ingredients after making a dish.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, perhaps Julia should write instructions for IKEA…

Don’t miss Julia’s peperonata too


Hunter’s chicken stew

Hunter's chicken stew from A Year of Simple Family Food

There are countless variations of hunter’s stew, known as Pollo alla cacciatora – some in bianco (without tomatoes), some without olives or with dierent herbs or aromatics. Mine is a very simple one, with tomatoes, large green olives and fragrant rosemary and bay. It is a straightforward dish that is even better the next day. Serve it on a bed of soft polenta or simply with bread to mop up the juices.

Makes  4-6 servings, depending on appetite
Takes about 20 mins to prep and about the same again to simmer

1 x 1.2 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces
sea salt
100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 g unsalted butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
1 rosemary sprig
1 fresh bay leaf
400 g canned whole peeled tomatoes
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
100 g whole green olives

Season the chicken with salt, then dredge lightly in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or cast-iron pot over a medium heat and brown the chicken in batches until golden on all sides. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to low and add the onion and celery. Gently fry for around  10 minutes and, when beginning to turn golden, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Pour in the wine, scraping up any brown bits left over from frying the chicken. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, tomatoes and chicken stock and break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Increase the heat to medium and, when beginning to simmer, return the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the liquid. Simmer over a medium–low heat for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the stew has thickened.

Scatter over the olives and cook for a few minutes more, then season to taste and serve.

Thank you, Julia.

Reckon you’ll give Julia’s hunter’s chicken stew a go?

Don't miss Julia's new book A Year of Simple Family Food

A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Armelle Habib.


Hunter's chicken stew recipe from A Year of Simple Family Food