Skip to comments.Weekly Cooking (and things related) Thread
Posted on 02/11/2015 6:01:42 PM PST by Jamestown1630
(A little early this week, because I have a couple of busy days coming up.)
In the memoir that Julia Child wrote in collaboration with her husband's great-nephew, the story of the revelatory meal in Rouen that started Julia on her life's work is recounted ('My Life in France', Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme, 2006).
I believe that anyone who has become seriously interested in food and the art of cooking has had a moment like that: the one meal that made you realize that there was a LOT more to eating and cooking than you had previously known.
For me, it was my father's recipe for Chicken Cacciatore, when I was about 13 years old.
In our household, my Grandmother was the cook; and she was an excellent Tidewater-raised cook when it came to basic things like Chicken Pot Pie, Pot Roast, Birthday Cakes, Yeast-Raised Rolls and Bread, Thanksgiving Dinner. But nothing 'exotic'; she curiously didn't even do much with fresh fish or shellfish. And I don't think I ever saw her cook with garlic, or with a bell pepper, or olive oil - until the night my Daddy came home with a recipe that he had enjoyed with friends.
I can still remember the amazing smell of garlic bread, toasting in the oven; and green bell peppers sizzling with onions in olive oil on the range. I had never smelled these things before! and I had certainly never seen a bottle of Chianti in the house, all wrapped-up in its raffia. (Daddy was a spirit drinker ;-)
That night, Daddy coached, and Granny cooked; and the result was amazing. (Adding to the wonderful food, was the fact that I was allowed to drink a few sips of the Chianti, and feel VERY sophisticated :-)
My husband and I have tried many times to re-create this recipe. Each time, I say, "We're getting closer!" At times, we've even used canned mushrooms and Pompeian olive oil to try and get closer, because those were the items that my folks could have bought in the local grocery store, in the 1960s.
But, we've never really gotten there - and I don't think we ever will. You simply can't re-create the experience of tasting something strange and wonderful for the very first time.
But, here we are, as far as we've been able to duplicate it. This is based on a recipe that I found online, and with which we've been 'fiddling'. It's a very forgiving recipe. I always add extra garlic, a little more olive oil, etc. And we always use skin-on, bone-in chicken, and remove the skin after browning. (Most recipes you'll find now call for 'boneless-skinless' - and they taste like it, too.)
Daddy's Chicken Cacciatore
5 lbs. Chicken Thighs with skin and bone (or a 5 lb chicken cut-up)
Salt and Pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced (or: More Cow Bell!)
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes WITH juice
3 T. Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then dredge the pieces in the flour.
In a large pot, heat the oil, add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown over high heat, about 5 minutes per side. Don't over-crowd; brown in batches.
Remove the chicken to a plate. When cool, remove the skin and discard it. (Unless you're a fan of rubbery Chick-Skin)
Add the chopped bell peppers and onion to the same pan and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute more. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, and dried herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. (I'm not giving amounts of salt and pepper, but encouraging tasting as you go.)
Add the chicken pieces back to the pot with the mushrooms.
Bring the pot to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat for about 1-1/2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning again if necessary.
This is often served over pasta, or rice; but as I recall, we just had lots of garlic bread to sop up the wonderful juices. (My folks used to make the garlic bread with the garlic "butter" that was sold in glass jars; but I haven't seen that available in many years. It was probably some kind of margarine, anyway; so that can be improved upon.)
If any of you have recipes for Chicken Cacciatore that you enjoyed in the late-1950s to 1960s, please post them!
If you would like to be on or off of this Weekly Cooking Thread, please send me a private email.
Can someone ping me with a way to kick up a Cuban Sandwich with some good cheese selections? Other than the original, we have added, at times, bacon, spicy mustard, Southwest mustard and used different breads. Still looking for a better cheese or ?? Thanks
“I believe that anyone who has become seriously interested in food and the art of cooking has had a moment like that: the one meal that made you realize that there was a LOT more to eating and cooking than you had previously known”
Absolutely! For me it was gyros at a restaurant in (I think) Clearwater, FL. Twenty three years ago, I was 18 and amazed that food could taste that good...sorry Mom! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do and though I have yet to make anything as good as those gyros, I love when people enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Any thing I can learn about cooking chicken dishes will please my wife to no end!
I think I kind of over cook chicken especially in a tomato sauce and it ends up really dried out. Any advice?
One of our favorite restaurants served a dish called Pasta Putantesca. AKA; pasta as offered by the ladies of the evening.
We ordered it over and over until we figured out (and the cook confessed) what was in it.
It's a family favorite today.
“Any thing I can learn about cooking chicken dishes will please my wife to no end!”
My wife once called my cooking “disturbing”. Quote.
The ‘Gyro Revelation’ was a big thing for me, as well.
Then came the “Bulgogi and Kimchi and Chap Chae” revelation.
And the “Injera and Siga Wot” revelation.
The simple “Sweet and Sour Pork” revelation....(The first Chinese Food I ever had, was Egg Foo Young; it was my Dad’s favorite, after he had learned about Chinese food during his stint as a Marine in WWII, and after the war had been stationed in Californica.)
And don’t even ask about the first authentic Pizza restaurant that came into our neighborhood in the late 1950s; The pizzas they made were rectangular, with a very thin crust; haven’t had anything like it since. Their meatballs were wonderful, as well!
Food just goes on and on :-)
I think the anchovies are what gives the Pasta Puttanesca its name.
We made it once. Didn’t like it enough to make it again.
Anchovies are a wonderful ingredient, used wisely.
They’re excellent in a Caesar Salad Dressing; and we’ve used them in other recipes, as well. (NOT on Pizza, though.)
They add a depth and pungency, used sparely; and usually, you don’t even know that they’re in there!
The entire point is to make a dish that is quick, salty, and filling. Olives, capers and/or anchovies certainly fill the bill here.
The 'puttanesca' derives from 'puttanata' (stuff; garbage; something worthless), as supposedly originally conceived by the restauranteur Sandro Petti in the 1940s or 1950s at his place in Ischia. The tales about ladies of the evening don't really hold water, but are entertaining stories.
Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge. Perhaps I fell for the ‘whimsical’ bit.
We did try making it once; but we didn’t like it enough to make it again.
Have you tried the pizza recipe in the book, “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”. It was so good and your authentic pizza sounds very similar. Living in a rural area I have to try to make the things I crave or want to try myself as we don’t have many restaurants to choose from.
I love fermented food but have yet to try Kimchi, I’ve heard too many jokes about it and can’t work up the courage!
Comiendo bueno, m'FRiend!
We like sautéed mushrooms on toast which has been spread with a little bit of anchovy paste. Great with steak or scrambled eggs.
Try first a ‘fresh kimchee’ recipe; do a web search. It doesn’t involve the fermentation, but you can get an idea of what it tastes like.
Fermented Kimchee has the value that it carries the kind of gut-goodies that yogurt, or sauerkraut, do.
(The Ethiopian bread ‘Injera’, made from Teff, has similar goodies.)
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