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Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting cozy

There's just something about good ol' comfort food that makes everything better.  Lord knows I could have used this dish tonight after the craziness I endured today (this photo is about a month old - and excuse the ugly plate, lol)...plus, I'm not feeling so hot and wasn't up for cooking.  

I love Giada's recipe for this old standby that was popular in our house growing up...Frank's a big fan too.  I served it with polenta with mushrooms, which is another favorite combo of ours.  Depending on my mood and how much time I have, I make my polenta the old fashioned way, the quick way, or the cheater's way, and saute the mushrooms with garlic and oil before combining them.

  • Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta and Mushrooms
  • adapted from Giada DeLaurentis

  • 4 chicken breasts with skin and backbone
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped (I used 2  medium yellow onions)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used 5)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers (I omitted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken doesn't fit, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil.  Serve with polenta and mushrooms.

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