Friday, December 16, 2011

Chicken cacciatore

Food has always played a center role in my life and I believe that this is a family thing, this is maybe why I now realize that some food, flavors or tastes have the power to bring back memories. This hit me fairly hard on Thanksgiving actually, I was in the kitchen, the turkey was in the oven, stock was simmering on stove and all of a sudden the warm feeling in my back and the smell transported me in my gran ma's kitchen as a child. I am not sure exactly why that happened but it was so strong that before I knew it I had tears running down my cheeks and I was overwhelmed with happy memories.

The dish I am presenting you with today was inspire by Bev from Bev cooks, I love her blog, she always makes me smile. I was very inspired by the picture and did a few modifications so it would match more my favor profile and cooking style. Interestingly enough Matt supposedly hates chicken cacciatore, at least that's what he thought until he tried this one!!!! It is a very simple, healthy and delicious recipe, you should totally try it. Something unexpected, happened when I tasted it, I felt back home, eating a dish my dad had cooked. My dad is a very good cook, I have never seen him follow any kind of recipes but he experiments a lot and it magically turns out delicious :), he does not have a particular flavor profile, at least that's what I thought... until this happened.... we have very different cooking techniques and yet we seem to have strange similarities.

I made this using a whole chicken but you use chicken thigh or breasts is you would rather, that is really up to you.

Chicken cacciatore
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (check this link out for help, it's really fairly simple)
- salt & pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 springs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (28oz) can peeled tomatoes
- 1/3 c red wine
- 2 tbsp flour

 Rinse the chicken and pat it dry, cut into eight pieces, I freeze the back for later use in stock.
Season well.
 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, place the chicken pieces, skin side down. If you do not hear a sizzle, remove the chicken and wait some more. DO NOT MOVE until it is brown, if won't let you move it anyway. Season, flip and brown the other side.
Set aside.
 Discard the fat if there is any, add a little bit of oil. Add the onion and cook a couple minutes.
Scrape all the brown bits of flavor with the steam generated by the veggies

Add the rest of the veggies and herbs (carrots, celery, bell pepper, thyme, bay and garlic). Saute until soft, about 10 min.
Add the tomatoes, you can chop them but I do enjoy crushing them in my hands. Add the wine.
Return the chicken, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 min.
Reserve the chicken, make a slurry with the flour and some of the sauce, add it to the pot and simmer to thicken.
Serve with rice or pasta. 

I am off to Christmas candy wonderland!!! I will share with you the recipes that are successful and will be sent to friends and family

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