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!
Try marinating your chicken in yogurt. Use plain yogurt and add whatever seasoning you like. For example, some nights I do lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano. Some nights I do garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, lime juice, cumin. The yogurt does a wonderful job of keeping the chicken moist, even when slightly overcooked, but doesn’t really impart a “yogurt” flavor.
I will have to try yogurt. Thanks.
One of the problems today is the depreciation in quality of basic ingredients. Chicken tastes like something from a factory and vegetables no longer have the zing they had when farmland contained more nutrients than today.
Also, try using fresh oregano instead of dry, and an equal amount of basil, and a range chicken - leave the skin on.
Your recipe didn’t come through on my end. Please try posting again, I’m interested.
You are absolutely correct, about the meat. When I was young, the meat was so tasty; now, not so much.
When the meat was tasty and fatty, you didn’t eat too much of it; but now, it’s so dissatisfying that people overeat of it.
Yes, definitely marinate overnight for the best result. I should have said that in my original comment. Thanks, MaxMax!
This post of mine has nothing to do with chicken. I have ordered two slow cooker cookbooks with recipes designed to feed two people with a bit of leftovers. Have ordered a three quart oval slow cooker. The recipe quantities are to fit in this smaller cooker.
Since we are not feeding a three/four/or more family, just the two of us, we don’t need a 5/6/7 qt. cooker anymore. I did some reading about new cookers and they are different in the way they are heated and way they cook, than the ones we bought years ago. As a consequence, food will cooker faster in these modern ones.
When I get the cookbooks and cooker, I’ll let all you know if it is helpful to feed us without messing up pans and bowls and standing over the stove, and if the recipes are actually good.
Thanks for the over night tip. I have used Butter Milk in the past - but not overnight.
OMG! Even slow cookers have to move faster now days! I KNEW the world was speeding up, rather than me slowing down, and this proves it!
I’ll keep our older ones, as their cooking rate allows me to put something in at bedtime, let it cook on the low setting over night. We divvy it up the next morning for freezing and some for refrigerating for dinner that night. That makes it almost-leftovers, and most of the stuff that we do that way is of the “it tastes better the second day” variety.
Even if it is used during the day, to cook dinner, we can be out in the garden all day, and not worry about overcooking.
If we need speed, we use the nuker or pressure pot.
I know the topic is chicken, but I made the best Irish stew ever this week.
Step one - cut 3 lbs of stew beef into bite-sized 1” chunks as I didn’t want to cook this too long. In a gallon sized bag (measurements approximate) 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 teaspoon of course salt, and 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Throw the cut up meat in the bag and toss to coat.
Cut 4 slices of bacon into a 1/2 dice and cook over medium-high heat in an oven friendly dutch oven until the fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set it aside. If not enough fat, add small amounts of veggie oil as needed. Brown the flour-coated meat in the hot oil in small batches to give it a nice seared brown coating. Add more small amounts of oil between batches as need. Put cooked beef with bacon after it has seared.
Reduce the heat on the pan to medium-low. To the oil remaining in the pan add 3 peeled onions, cut into big chunks (I cut mine into 1/8ths). Add a bit of water to pan if needed. Cook for a few minutes till the onions start to sweat. Add 5 carrots and 5 parsnips, peeled and cut 1/2” on the diagonal, with a bit more water, if needed. Cook for a few minutes to infuse with flavor and coat with browned pan bits. Remove veggies from pan and set aside with the bacon and stew beef.
Add one TBS of tomato paste and 1/2 tsp of dried thyme to pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes to let flavors bloom. Add one can of Guinness Stout and turn heat up to high, scraping browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. When the Stout comes to a boil, add back to the pan the bacon, seared beef, and all the vegetables, Add 14 oz can of beef broth. Give one good stir, cover, and put in a 325 degree oven for one hour.
After one hour, take the pan out of the oven, remove the lid, give everything a good stir, and add 3/4 of pound of potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks. I used some small Yukon Golds cut into 1/4’s. Put the cover back on the pan and put back in the oven for 45 minutes.
Take the pan out of the oven, add 1 cup of frozen peas and give another good stir. Put back in the oven, without the lid, for 15 minutes. This will thicken the stew a surprising amount.
After 15 minutes, take out of oven, let sit a few minutes (if you can wait), give a final stir, add salt and/or pepper if needed, and devour. I had a tomatoes and roasted beet salad over lettuce before the stew and ciabatta bread on the side.
It was so good, Irish or not!!
Have used this recipe with great success”
it is Emeril’s
This is also great with the use of raisins. I have always used a mango mustard.
I have been using this chicken recipe for years and is sort of a “go to” recipe for company. It is an old Graham Kerr recipe.
“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.)”
Land O’ Lakes has some really good butter blends these days. I use the butter/olive oil blend regularly. They have a Garlic/Herb one that is great for garlic bread and a lot of other things!!
A chicken dinner I made this week
Boneless skinless (and yes, somewhat lacking in flavor), chicken breasts on sale this week. Bought a package of 6. Took four of them, trimmed them, carefully butterflied them and pounded them flat.
Made a stuffing out breakfast sausage removed from the casing (it was what I had, Italian sausage or ground pork would work too)browned with one small onion diced sauteed until it sweating. Then I dumped in one of those plastic containers of greens (baby spinach, kale, and chard) and cooked just until the greens wilted.
Put the stuffing in the chicken breasts, carefully closed the chicken breasts over the stuffing, then wrapped the breasts in bacon. Had a pan (not glass) heating in a 425 degree oven. Carefully put the breasts on the pan and roasted for 25 minutes until the chicken was cooked. Then finished under the broiler to get the bacon nice and crispy.
I let the chicken rest while I steamed some broccoli and made some broiled cheesy matoes - core and cut tomatoes on the equator, put on a foil lines baking sheet, cut side up, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. Broil until the tomatoes are soft and beginning to brown. Then, if you want, sprinkle with cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, what ever you have, and pop back under the broiler till the cheese melts.
Sliced the breasts up. Served the tomatoes, broccoli and a loaf of ciabatta bread that son #4 had baked the day before (he’s learning to cook). Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The two remaining chicken breasts were cooked last night. This was taken from a sesame shrimp recipe I played with (Recipes are for ideas or starting points, not written in stone IMHO)
Trimmed the two boneless, skinless breasts and cut into 3/4”-1” pieces. Took two egg whites (made the yokes into mayo now that I finally have a good stick blender), beat the whites till they were frothy. Mixed in 1/4 cup of arrowroot power (or cornstarch) and 1/4 cup sesame seeds and then tossed the chicken piece in the batter.
Heated a 1/4” or so of oil in a big frying pan (I don’t have a good wok) and fired up the battered chicken in small batches making sure to get it nice and crispy on all sides. Put the chicken on paper towel to drain as it was finished frying and adding more oil as needed.
When the chicken was done, I tossed in a few handfuls of trimmed sugar snap peas, but many other veggies would work here to. After the snap peas were cooked, I to them out of the pan and to the remaining oil and browned bits added one cup of orange juice, 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce, and one Tablespoon of honey (sugar would work too) I cooked the sauce over a medium high heat, scrapping up the browned bits, until the sauce reduced and thickened a bit.
Then tossed the chicken and snap peas back in, just long enough to coat them and heat them back up. Sprinkled some sliced scallions (3 - it was all I had) on top and served it up. Rice would go well, but as we’re avoiding grains, I roasted up some chopped cauliflower. Can’t wait to go eat the leftovers for breakfast :-)
Sugar snap peas....they are delicious. LOL when we had plants growing, during harvest season the ones picked seldom made it into the house. Good, even uncooked. So sweet almost like candy.
Another veggie we have acquired a taste for is the Italian green beans. Wally world now stocks these in huge plastic bags in the frozen food area. They are a second favorite. Saute in skillet with bit of olive oil, garlic and an Italian spice blended.
Searching for new veggies to sample.
LOL same here for sugar snaps. All peas I grow rarely make it to the stove for cooking. Mr Kitty even suggested that we plant even more sugar snap peas this year!
He helped me trim the peas for dinner last night and quite a few never made it into the sesame chicken. :-)
The first pizza restaurant I went to was Shakey’s back in jr. high. Then we moved to the arm pit of the world so didn’t get to go to another pizza place until college where they made the best tomato topped pizza. Sure, plain jane but was sooo good. Apparently, I was the only one who ordered it because the guy in the back would yell out my name and never charge. I heard it burned down a few years later. Nowhere else could replicate it so I’ve given up.
Ok, so had to go look up a recipe for Spaghetti alla puttanesca after everyone talking about it. Never have had anchovies or capers. Ack, still pretty much live out in nowhere with our one grocery store so if it’s not the bare basics, it’s not available.
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