Why You Should Cook Dried Mushrooms Early In Chicken Cacciatore

No two mushrooms are exactly the same, nor do they serve the same purpose. Porcini mushrooms, for example, work great as a dish's focal ingredient, whereas cremini mushrooms are the ideal addition to chicken cacciatore. For that particular dish, however, you may not always have the fresh version on hand. For those times, dried mushrooms do the job — though they require a different timeline for cooking. 

"[Dried mushrooms] should be added at the start so that they cook thoroughly," explained recipe developer Julianne De Witt. Her crockpot chicken cacciatore calls for fresh, sliced white mushrooms, but she acknowledges that you can replace those with their dried counterpart — so long as you give the latter enough time to cook.

Dried varieties require a period of soaking so that have they enough time to rehydrate, and then they must be strained prior to cooking. As for how to make chicken cacciatore with mushrooms, the steps are otherwise straightforward. With a crockpot, the dish comes together easily so you can add everything all at once. 

How to make chicken cacciatore with mushrooms

For De Witt's cacciatore specifically, fresh mushrooms are actually among the last ingredients added — she suggests mixing them into the crockpot only after the poultry and vegetables have cooked for about three hours. From there, the entire recipe cooks for about another two hours.

Dried mushrooms, however, should be added prior to that three-hour waiting window. Once you sear your chicken in oil, add it to the crockpot with a slew of sautéed vegetables and seasonings. This is when you'll add those dried mushrooms, giving them all the more time to soak and rehydrate before your chicken's done.

However, before you use those dried fungi, make sure to clean them exactly as you would the fresh versions and trim the stems. From there, you're good to start cooking and can employ dried mushrooms across an assortment of recipes. Beyond a classic chicken cacciatore, they can also be used to flavor stocks and store especially well in the pantry.