We spent the summer putting away fresh vegetables and meat products into the freezer. We like knowing where our food comes from, how it is prepared and preserved. Our freezer is well stocked for the winter and even has an accompanying spreadsheet and map (it’s needed! As are labels on everything!). But all that work means making sure we use everything too.
That can be a little difficult months later when you want to branch out to new dishes instead of the same old. There is only so much rapini one person can eat, says my husband, who, last summer, thought it was a good idea to freeze a bushel of the greens. When I pulled out what I thought was a packet of pork last week, and it ended up being chicken, it was time to break out of the go-to recipes and think about something we hadn’t had in a while.
The answer: chicken cacciatore. I’m not a huge fan of green and red peppers, which is why we don’t have this dinner often, but after making it this time, I’m not sure why not. I stuck to the recipe that my family uses, and they used at their Italian restaurant they had when I was young. This is a basic cacciatore recipe, relying on the flavours of the tomatoes, peppers and chicken, rather than wine or capers as you may see in more modern recipes. Smothering rice or pasta, it’s perfect for a workplace lunch the next day too. Now to find a way to get my husband to eat more rapini…
2 pounds, bone-in chicken pieces
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 pound button mushrooms
1 large onion
1 jar or can plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the peppers, onions and mushrooms into ½” slices. Set aside. Remove the tomatoes from the jar or can into a bowl and roughly crush them with your hand. Set aside.
Clean your chicken pieces and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large pan with a base of canola oil. Brown the chicken on both sides, but do not fully cook it. Once browned, remove to a bowl and cover with foil. Set aside.
In the same pan, add in all your vegetables. Salt to taste and sautee for five to ten minutes, when the vegetables just begin to soften and the browned bits of the chicken come off the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back in and pour in the tomatoes. Stir and cover the pan, cooking for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and half of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Add in oregano or basil.
Serve over rice or pasta. Garnish with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, if desired.