My apologies, my friends, for the extended absence. Let’s just leave it at: we had some computer issues, and I wasn’t accomplishing much since all that began. Well, I did almost have a nervous breakdown, if you can call that an accomplishment. But thankfully, we seem to have the computer dilemmas solved, and already I can feel the focus moving back into my life.
Since I last wrote, the holidays seem to have arrived. The Christmas trees are up at Walmart, Dish Network has added three channels of holiday music to its program guide, and my 11-year-old son requested Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in the car last week. To quote one of my favorite movies: “And so it begins….”
Yet I am not ready to begin. We are still having sunny, 60-degree days, and though I have been craving more soups for lunch (as there is a definite chill in the air), I am not ready to start in on the Christmas cookie recipes.
Instead, it’s that time of the year when we don’t mind turning on our ovens, and yesterday I turned mine on to make one of the comfort foods of my youth: Mom’s Chicken Cacciatore. God knows I needed some comfort food after the past two weeks of computer headaches.
There’s no long-winded story to accompany the dish. Mom has made this all my life. It’s a simple recipe, and yet another one of those that can feed four or twenty-four. (You just need to make an extra pan or two.) Here’s how you do it:
- In a large pan in a preheated 350-degree oven, cook 2-3 pieces of chicken per person until they start to color, about 30 minutes. (We prefer dark-meat chicken — legs and thighs — but if you prefer white meat, chicken breasts work just as well.)
- Add 2 large diced peppers (I used Yummy Orange Peppers leftover from our produce co-op this week),
2 chopped onions, and a small container of mushrooms, sliced. You’ll have something that looks like this:
Cook another 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the chicken and veggies with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and basil, and top with a can of crushed tomatoes. (I tried San Marzano, which are supposed to be “the best,” according to all the professional Italian chefs out there. I would have to say, they were pretty darn good.)
Mix, adding a little bit of water if the sauce is too thick. Cook another 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
I always make chicken cacciatore with spaghetti on the side, since Mom and I both agree that the sauce from this dish is one of the best spaghetti toppers you can find. Must be the added chicken fat (“schmaltz,” as my dear husband calls it). Whatever it is, it’s worth it.
Happy eating, my friends, and thanks for sticking around. Grazie.
(Click here to view and print recipe)