Saturday, February 11, 2012

Break Out Of Your Habits With Chicken Cacciatore

I think many people tend to get into a cooking rut and repeat the family's favorite meals over and over again. A dozen things or so is all they eat. Maybe part of the reason for this was in times past you couldn't get a great variety of foods in just a 10 minute drive. For some perhaps, if Momma didn't show them they just never went out of that box. Today with many families having everyone coming home tired and exhausted, nobody wants to take the time to be creative, let alone spend the time in in meal prep. The other issue perhaps is that it is just so easy to go out to eat with a zillion restaurants within a few minutes drive.  Really why bother? 

The other day I was watching an old Julia Child rerun.  She was expounding on how much money you could save by buying a noodle maker and doing them yourself.  I just don't think that is done too much anymore.  I will say there are a few recipes I do indulge in making homemade noddles. They really are so good. But it is, to be honest, quite a bit of work.  For me however it is a place where I can do my creative thing and most of the time it turns out good...well, it does.  I have concocted a few things over the years which were well, not so well received. Except for that hungry garbage disposal of course.  I guess a dog would come in handy at times, the cats don't really do much for cleaning up unwanted leftovers.

I decided to prepare Chicken Cacciatore the other day. Don't really know why, but I had some thawed chicken meat that wanted to have a makeover.  A grand transformation from a wet mess to an exotic creation.  Anyway, I had never made the dish before, my mom never made it nor anyone else's moms who I knew. 

The way I usually go about trying out a new recipe is I go on and try to find something close to what I'm envisioning or in this case what I was wanting to eat.  I like that site only because it often has many recipes of the same thing and you can compare them, and I usually combine the ideas.

One thing all of the recipes had is one of my favorite ingredients and I rarely cook without it.  GARLIC, the wonder plant.  My mom was a fan of the little root, and I guess I carry out the family tradition.

They say it is possible to put in too much garlic and I suppose you theoretically could, but if it is cooked I think it might be difficult.  By the way, I did not use all of this garlic shown here but I did use well over half of it. 

I like to substitute Poblano peppers for the Bell peppers.  The Bells are way more bitter and just don't have the good flavor you find with these guys.  They are a bit more exciting than the Bells, but they aren't normally so hot you can't use them. At least give it a try.
Fresh red peppers of the Bell variety would be fine to use at this point. Something about the ripening process  makes fruit sweeter and the pepper is a fruit.  I used a jar of roasted red peppers only because I had them and the darn fresh ones are so expensive.  I also put in a can of sliced ripe olives.
Chicken pieces were dredged in bread crumbs and then fried until about half done and browned.
Next I put it all together by sauteing the peppers first and then combining the ingredients with a can of diced tomatoes. I drowned it in about of cup of red wine and let it all simmer for awhile. I also threw in a bit of generic Italian spices, you know basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram.

I added back the chicken, letting it quietly simmer for another 30 minutes or so with the lid off to let it thicken just a bit from evaporation.  Now it was ready to be served over some pasta.  Break the routine and try this dish.  Not too complicated, or all that time consuming, but it is yummy.

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