Posted at 12:21 pm
Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cooking, cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit. Growing up in an Italian American family with a mother who was an excellent cook I learned to make Chicken Cacciatore at a young age. My mother who is now 97 didn’t have a written recipe she just created as she cooked. I’ve tried to recreate her recipe adding porcini mushrooms her favorite. This recipe also double very well for a larger group. A few tips that I learned from my mother: Always soak chicken for about 10 minutes in salted water to clean. Then pat dry before cooking.
- ½ ounce dried mushrooms, like porcini (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
- 2 chicken thighs with skin
- 2 chicken legs with skin
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 large red pepper, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley
- 1 heaped teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes in juice, put through a food mill. I use Cento.
- Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl or heat-proof glass measuring cup and pour on 2 cups boiling water. Let sit 15 to 30 minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Drain through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel and set over a bowl. Rinse the mushrooms in several changes of water, squeeze out excess water and chop coarsely. Set aside. Measure out 1 cup of the soaking liquid and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown, in batches, for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken pieces a roasting pan. Pour the fat off from the pan and discard.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the remaining oil and the onion and pepper, as well as a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is soft and aromatic. Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms, turn the heat back up to medium, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down a little and smell fragrant. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid that you set aside.
- Poor mushroom mixture over chicken. Bake at 400˚F uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp) and the sauce is bubbling.
- Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with pasta or rice.
Posted at 5:19 pm
Ina Garten’s Chicken Marbella
I’m a big fan of Ina Garten collecting all her cookbooks. I opened her new cookbook, Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks, a Christmas present from my husband Chris, eager to try her variation of Chicken Marbella. When the Silver Palate cookbook was all the rage I made Chicken Marbella and wasn’t very impressed. So I approached Ina’s reinvention with trepidation planing on being disappointed. I made the dish and served it for a family Sunday dinner. Much to my surprise and delight we throughly enjoyed Ina’s Chicken Marbella. I found the flavor more intense than the Silver Palate recipe created by the addition of more prunes, olives, garlic, caper juice and less sugar. I will definitely make this recipe again.
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 cup good red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups large pitted prunes, such as Sunsweet
- 1 cup large green olives, pitted, such as Cerignola (see tip)
- 1/2 cup capers, including the juices (3 1/2 ounces)
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 heads of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and minced (see tip)
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (4-pound) chickens, backs removed and cut in 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the marinade. (You can also place the chicken and marinade in a 2-gallon plastic storage bag and squeeze out the air to make sure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade.) Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally to be sure the marinade is getting into all of the chicken pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the chicken, skin side up, along with the marinade in one layer in a large (15 × 18-inch) roasting pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, and pour the wine around (not over!) the chicken. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken is 145 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken, prunes, and olives to a serving platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices.
Pro tip: You can’t buy good-quality pitted green olives. I buy whole olives and pit them with a cherry pitter.
Pro tip: To peel a lot of garlic quickly, separate the cloves and blanch them in boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the size of the cloves — the peel slips right off.
Reprinted from Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks. Copyright © 2018 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publisher
Posted at 8:20 am
Lazy Sundays are perfect for cooking wonderful family meals. Sunday dinner, a tradition in our home, has all our family coming to our home to enjoy sharing time and food as a family once again. From my Italian heritage shared with me by my mother who masterfully created a different feast every Sunday, I learned to cook and gather my family together to enjoy my food. With a busy life style I look forward to languishing on Sunday preparing a bountiful meal without hurrying through the preparation. Roasted Chicken is easy to create with many different seasoning that bring out the flavor of the chicken. I love to experiment with different ways to make a whole chicken from marinating to roasting. However you choose to cook a whole chicken be create and have fun!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt inside out of the chicken. Place on a large plate cover and refrigerate over night. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Put chicken in roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil, sprinkle sage, thyme, salt and pepper over chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter.