2 large red bell peppers
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of all fat and skin (8 to 10 pieces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms or 3 medium portabella caps, thinly sliced
2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry or 1/2 cup dry wine, white or red
1 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
A couple pinches saffron (20 to 24 threads)
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
A handful freshly grated manchego cheese
A handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Set aside or prepare the stock and tomatoes.
Char peppers over flame burner or under a broiler until blackened all over. Place charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, cool to handle, seed and peel peppers and thinly slice.
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, heat a tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown a few minutes on each side, then remove to a plate. Add the remaining extra virgin olive oil and mushrooms, until browned. Add the onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, stir occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes, then deglaze the pan with sherry or wine. Stir in the prepared tomatoes, peppers and paprika. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer 10 minutes more. Turn off the heat and cool the chicken, then cover and store for a make-ahead meal.
Cook's Note: Reheat over medium heat, covered, then simmer uncovered until ready to serve. When the chicken is hot, bring the saffron and prepared stock to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and cook until it begins to pull away from the pot. Season with salt and stir in grated cheese. Serve the polenta in shallow bowls and top with Spanish cacciatore, and garnish with parsley.
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min