Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Food for Thought

Just kidding! Well, maybe not . . .Chicken Cacciatore: It was "What's for Dinner" last night.

My daughter, Sarah, asked me to fix this dish a day or two ago. So, last night I did. It was very yummy and was based on a recipe she found online from "food" courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. I personally love to watch her show.

So, here's my version of her recipe. I didn't change much.

Chicken Cacciatore

1 whole chicken, cut up, (breasts cut in half crosswise, equalling 4 pieces)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup white grape juice (Giada used white wine)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup chicken stock (or broth)
3 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Chicken WILL NOT be thoroughly cooked yet--so WAIT to eat it! Transfer chicken to paper towel on a plate and set aside.

Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and carrot slices to the same pan and saute over medium/medium high heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the grape juice and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium/medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a large serving dish (or 9 x 13 inch casserole). If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. (I left this step out . . . so I had LOTS of sauce. But I liked it!) If you like, you can spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce at this point. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

The basil I retrieved from my huge plant just outside the back door was sooooo aromatic and wonderful and a nice addition to the dish. Yes, I also had fresh oregano growing back there. Can I just say how much I love my pots of herbs growing on the back patio? Well, I do. We served the chicken and sauce over spaghetti noodles and sprinkled it all with Parmesan cheese. We liked it. In fact, my husband said he'd like to eat it again. (Translation: he REALLY liked it!)

Sarah said, since I added the carrots (upon her request, I might add) it seemed sweeter than the time she fixed it for her Dad when I was off helping her sister Amy with the birth of her second child. (See the cute, smiling, blue-eyed wonder in the far left photo on Saturday's "Someone's Unhappy!" post. Oh, and as an aside, that little guy LOVES to cook! Has ever since he was big enough to drag a stool up to assist his Mom in cooking projects.)
So, go try this recipe. The seasoning is milder than I thought, but VERY nice and tasty! Enjoy! We did. And will again.
Do YOU have a favorite chicken recipe? A favorite Italian recipe? Care to share? Please! Come on! You know you want to!

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