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Thursday, January 22, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Cacciatore

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This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is the Chicken Cacciatore, hosted by Peggy over at Pantry Revisited.   (Incidentally, over at Food Network, this recipe has a five star rating).  I have never made, nor eaten this dish.  Why?  Well, I don't like eating peppers, onions or mushrooms, three of the main components of this dish.  Really.  I don't like them.  I haven't liked the texture when I have tried them before, I love the smell, but haven't loved eating them.  You already knew I was weird, right?

Well... it pains me to admit this, but I may have to start saying, "I didn't like them."  This dish was really, really good.  I did make a few changes, but nothing I felt was too drastic.  In the original recipe, it calls for skinless chicken breasts, on the bone.  With the economy the way it is, and the fact that we don't buy chicken on the bone, I decided to make a few little changes.

First off, I used a whole chicken that I cut into four pieces - two breast and wing sections and two thigh and leg sections.  This probably detracts from the healthy factor a bit, but since the 3 lb. chicken I bought cost me just barely above $3, I am fine with that.   I also didn't bother to remove the skin, because I knew that none of us were going to eat it anyway.  I chose to let it cook in with everything and help with the flavor a bit.

I also used some sweet baby bell peppers I had on hand - red, orange and gold, instead of just one large red bell pepper, and actually almost doubled the amount of peppers.  I didn't make any change to the amount of onion, but I did use cremini mushrooms instead of white mushrooms.  I just like those, when I am trying to get myself to eat mushrooms that is, better than plain white mushrooms.

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I will admit that I added about 1 Tablespoon of butter to the vegetable mixture when I put the mushrooms in, but the way I see it, 1 Tablespoon, amongst several people, isn't too mush to worry about.  The only other change I made was to use chicken stock instead of dry white wine in the mixture.  I don't drink, and therefore never have wines or other liquors on hand to use and don't often go to recipes that would use it anyway, so this seemed like a good substitution to me.  I don't know what it would have tasted like with the white wine, but with the broth it was really fantastic.

I served the chicken on a bed of whole wheat egg noodles with all the good juice and sauce from cooking the chicken.  Yes, me, whole wheat noodles - go figure - I actually added something healthy instead of taking it away!  I am happy to say that I will definitely be making this again. It was fairly easy to make and tasted delicious.  It was a great meal for a cold winter night.

Don't forget to check out the blogroll to see how everyone else's chicken turned out!  (You can find the original recipe here - my changes are shown below). 

Chicken Cacciatore
4 skinless chicken breast halves on the bone, about 2 pounds (or 1 whole small chicken, cut into quarters)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced 
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (or 10 small baby bell peppers, thinly sliced)
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 organic, low sodium chicken stock
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped and juice reserved 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. 
Heat the oil in a saute pan over moderately-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion and pepper, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and juice, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer the mixture covered for 10 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 20 minutes longer.

9 comments:

Gretchen Noelle said...

Holly, that is so colorful! Glad you enjoyed it in the end! Don't feel bad a bit about using a whole chicken. The darker meat has more iron in it and its healthy in its own way. And better for bakes like this. Bravo!

applecrumbles said...

Looks like it turned out great! The sauce I made was ok. The real chicken turned out tough, that may have been because I over crowded the pan (in a hurry) or just bought a bad bird. I'd prefer not to take the blame.
I like the idea of the pepper color variety.

Cathy said...

This looks fantastic! We loved this as well. I had heard mixed reviews, but you can put me in the "5 star rating" camp. Glad to hear that it is equally good with chicken stock!

Peggy said...

Wow - your photos are great and I am so pleased you liked this! We liked it too, though next time I might spice it up a tad. I like your idea of the whole wheat noodles with it. Thanks so much for cooking this with me!!

Pamela said...

Looks great! Your changes sound tasty, especially all of those peppers. Yum!

Mary said...

Wow this looks amazing! You are slowly convincing me I need to try and get this cookbook!

Jen said...

Your chicken cacciatore looks fantastic! Serving it with egg noodles was such a good idea. I should have done the same and then there would have been a use for all the yummy broth!

I'm glad you liked this recipe!

leanne said...

The cacciatore looks great. I might have to try this again with egg noodles soon. This was definately something I will make again.

What's for Supper? said...

Your cacciatore looks great with the egg noodles. We thought that this was a good choice too. I don't find it surprising that it has a high rating on food network.

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