Oh the glory of Chicken Cacciatore!

I am not going to even pretend I’m Italian. We had spaghetti growing up, you know, hamburger, jar of Ragu, noodles and the “Cheese” in the green can. I can make a pretty good lasagna  and I can rock out a tiramisu. My sister-in-law made this for me for the first time a few years ago. I love the rich, savory, bone warming broth and the succulent, tender chicken over noodles or rice, there you have a delicious dinner! I love to make this on a gray day where I am home to smell the aroma waft through the house.  Even if your people have never been to the old country–this dish will remind you of home.

The Chicken

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I use mostly thighs for this, they are cheap, easy and delicious! But just like a party–it doesn’t matter who you invite, it matters how you treat them! If you are partial to white meat–use it! Season your pieces well and dredge lightly in flour. Brown them slowly in a bit of olive oil–This will enhance the flavor and thicken your sauce. I brown and sweat everything in batches and drop it into a waiting warm crock pot to bubble away while I am doing other things. Remember–hot food goes into a hot crock pot and cold food into a cold one. Turn your pot on high before you even start!

Mushrooms

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Brown them in your pan after your chicken is out. I love the smell of mushrooms! My mind starts to wander, we are a few weeks away from morel season….drool….oh, excuse me, that is a post for another day! When your mushrooms are nutty, brown, softened and delicious, pour over your waiting chicken.Wipe out your pot and add a bit of fresh oil.

The Veg

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I used the veg I had on hand, give or take a few. If I had celery I would have used it too–but you won’t miss it. You must use bell pepper though-green, red, yellow or orange-it gives this sauce the flavor you savor.

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup bell pepper chopped

1 4oz can tomato paste

1 16oz can crushed tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

Sweat your veg until soft,season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add your tomato paste.( I use my can opener on the top and bottom of the can, take off the bottom lid and use a spoon to push the top lid down to the bottom of the can, that way you get every bit out-easy!)  Stir your tomato paste around 2 minutes or so until you smell it, mixing it with your softened veg. Turn up your heat and pour in your crushed tomato and broth. Now bring to a boil.

The Spice

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2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon  garlic powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried onion

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

I am making this in April–If I had fresh herbs of course I would use those!  Sprinkle these into your hot tub of love and mix well. Once your pot comes to a boil, slowly and carefully ladle or pour into your waiting slow cooker. 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. Now clean up, enjoy the smell and get ready to make the rice.

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The Rice

You can serve this awesome sauce and braised meat over polenta, pasta or rice. I like to add a hint of Spain and make Saffron Yellow Rice. You might have heard that Saffron is one of the most expensive spices on the world. Hand picked inside the flower of the crocus. Each plant has 4 flowers and each flower has 4 strands of this amazing spice, picked by hand this is a gift to be admired. I get mine at Cost Plus World Market. If you are a member you get deals and $$ off every month-I paid $0.00 for mine this month. I use cheap Long Grain Rice. Instead of water I use chicken broth and a pinch of Saffron, remember less is more–just a pinch is magic! Steep in the broth, add a pinch of red pepper flake and 1 clove garlic minced. Don’t forget a bit of salt and pepper. There is just no color like Saffron color-like a sunset! A beautiful sunset the last night of your vacation!

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SO here it is! I can’t wait to dig in! I live with hunters in the middle of hunting heaven. Watch out these next few months cause I might try Pheasant, Wild Turkey or Rabbit Cacciatore too!

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Sincerely, Sara

What do make for dinner on cold, gray days?

4 thoughts on “Oh the glory of Chicken Cacciatore!

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