A beery warm meal in a bowl

A beery warm meal in a bowl

Chicken Cacciatore

I never wanted to be a chef. I wanted to be a pilot. Hailing from a Bengali family, good food is a common part of our tradition. Cooking is in our genes. 

By the time I started realising the difference between tastes like sweet, spicy, sour etc, I was already helping my mother in the kitchen. This was when I was 15 or 16 years. The love for food grew since then. I joined a chef’s culinary course after which I got closer to the field. I got a chance to work in esteemed restaurants and hotels. 

After my practical lessons, I realised that cooking is what I loved the most. Once a chef told me that ‘Cooks cook to nurture’ and that stayed with me. I have come a long way from then. 

I believe that innovation is a big step in cooking. It is required on a daily basis, a chef has to be creative. Sometimes we tend to think out of the box. What we are thinking is not what ends up as the final product.  

Chef Ritwik Sarkar

It takes a while to perfect a recipe. Mistakes happen with almost every recipe but spending time on it helps one master the art of making it.   

I didn’t make any mistakes with the ‘Chicken Cacciatore’ recipe, which I am sharing here. Wine dinners are common but not everyone talks about a food and beer pairing and that is how this recipe came about. I tried a craft beer, lager beer and then settled for beers out of the aisle; I took time to settle for the beer. 

The dish will take a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare and around 35 minutes to cook. 
One can have a bowl of it with bread, rice or by itself. Enjoy.  

Chef Ritwik Sarkar,
Head chef of Cafe Felix


Chicken thigh and drumstick - 250 gm 
Olive oil - 20 ml
Onions diced - 25 gm 
Leak roundels - 25 gm
Celery diced - 25 gm 
Carrot diced - 25 gm 
Ceps - 15 gm 
Garlic cloves - 8 gm 
Button mushroom - 25 gm 
Tomato - 50 gm 
Beer - 150 ml 
Rosemary - 2 sprigs 
Thyme - 2 sprigs 
Chicken stock - 100 ml 
Tomato paste - 20 gm 
Black pepper - 5 gm 
Bay leaf - 2 pc 
Oregano - 2 sprigs 
Basil leaves - 5 to 7 
Green queen olives- 4 pc 
Capers - few buds 


Marinate the chicken with salt and crushed pepper evenly. You may marinate for 15mins and that’s enough as you don’t want moisture loss.

Take a heavy bottom casserole and heat it to medium high. Sear the chicken skin side down and continue till it browns on both the sides. Remove the chicken in a bowl and let it sit.

Do not throw the juices that will be released while it rests, it has immense flavour in it.

Now put the same pan on a medium flame. Add the mushrooms (ceps; button mushroom) and caramelize them evenly to get a nice earthy and robust flavour.

Once it starts to get a nice golden brown colour add crushed garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, carrot, celery, leeks; onion in the same order.

Add fresh rosemary, thyme sprigs to the pan and cook for a while to release their flavours.

Once the vegetables have become translucent deglaze the pan with beer. Scrub the bottom with your spatula to get the maximum flavour.

Then add diced fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Once the beer has reduced by one-third, add the chicken stock.

Now bring back the seared chicken and the juices back into the pan and give a nice stir.

Cover and let it cook for approximately 20 minutes on a low flame. Check the chicken, once cooked finish with chopped capers, green queen olives cut into halves, fresh basil leaves and oregano.


Serve in a bowl, garnished with herbs and a buttered maska pav (bread) on the side.

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