The word “boscaiola” in Italian means woodsman or woodcutter.
This recipe, Pollo alla Boscaiola is based on the most traditional thing hunted for in the woods; mushrooms. So this recipe is based on mushrooms.
Most boscaiola recipes would be made with porcini mushrooms as they are the king of mushrooms in Italy and give this recipe a most divine flavor. Porcini are expensive so I mix it with a few other mushrooms, as well.
2 CHICKEN BREASTS–boneless, cut in half and then again in pieces
½ OZ PORCINI MUSHROOMS*
12 EA BLACK and GREEN OLIVES–pitted and sliced
8 OZ MUSHROOMS
½ CUP DRY WHITE WINE
1 TSP CAPERS-rinsed
3 GARLIC CLOVES–sliced
1 SPRIG OF FRESH ROSEMARY
SALT and PEPPER
Soak the porcini in a small container of warm water, until soft. Strain when getting ready to use and discard the water.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the chicken, which has been lightly salted, rosemary, garlic, porcini, olives, capers and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to get it all mixed well together.
Add the wine and cook for an additional 5 minutes more. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking and stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and pepper and remove the rosemary sprig. Continue cooking on low heat until the chicken is done.
NOTE; serve with a side of buttered rice and a nice salad.
A little something about mushrooms. Growing up and long before I ventured into cooking I thought of mushrooms as dirty, slimy and probably useless. However now I realize how exceptional and many-sided they are. They are a natural plant-based source of umami flavor and now I enjoy cooking with them.
Mushrooms are the fruit of fungi and there are over 30,000 varieties. Unfortunately, only about 20 species are edible. Porcini mushrooms are a cult favorite and expensive but are worth the difference in price for what they add in flavor. Unlike truffles, mushrooms grow above ground and pop up everywhere in the wild and can be easily cultivated.
The wonderful thing about mushrooms is that they are extremely versatile as they can be sautéed, baked, grilled and even eaten raw. They are great in that they add remarkable flavors to rather simple dishes like pasta, risotto, stews, mead dishes and, my favorite, polenta.