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Chicken Cacciatore

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Jenise

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Chicken Cacciatore

by Jenise » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:09 pm

So tonight I'd planned Chicken Cacciatore. I like to do these dinner-and-a-movie nights. Tonight we'll have this while watching Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, which Danny Aiello and an Italian restaurant figure into heavily.

I have probably made CC only three times in the 30 years we've been married. I know for a fact that the last time was over 15 years ago, because it was at our former home in So Cal. No reason for the lapse except that my repertoire includes literally hundreds, if not thousands, of things I can riff on be they old faves or one-of-a-kinds because it's more satisfying creatively to go rogue on ingredients than follow a recipe or do things over and over. I can make anything taste good, and if I repeat something twice in one year that's a lot.

Like most things I cook for this dish I have no recipe, and I need no recipe. I loved my mother's version and would cleave toward that with these ingredients: wine, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, oregano. I actually don't think I've had chicken cacciatore made by anyone else.

But for yucks just now I googled the dish to see how others make it, thinking that, given a name like Hunter's Chicken which is what the Italian name translates to, there are probably 100 ways to go about it. And of course, I was right, there are, and many people have posted some pretty darned unappetizing pictures of their dishes. One picture that made me howl was meat and sauce served on top of spaghetti with a sprig of mint (where there was no mint, only dried basil and oregano, in the dish). I wouldn't take that person's word for ANYTHING.

Anyway, lots of dreck out there but I did find one fairly scholarly write-up, a comparison of many masters' versions, including Hazan, Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver and the like, which led to one food writer coming up with her own idea of perfection that was shared in The Guardian newspaper. It includes a picture that is by far the most attractive version I saw, too.

It's so well done I thought I'd share it.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/12/how-to-cook-perfect-chicken-cacciatora
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Chicken Cacciatore

by Paul Winalski » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:32 pm

Chef Carey put a version of CC in his book Chef on Fire, which is one of the best textbooks for learning basic cooking techniques that I've seen.

-Paul W.
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Jenise

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Re: Chicken Cacciatore

by Jenise » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:59 pm

Our cacciatore last night was excellent. Went with mom's flavors but more elevated technique, and have some idea of how to make it even more refined. Round 2 coming up soon!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Chicken Cacciatore

by Dale Williams » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:40 pm

I love cacciatore, but mine always includes mushrooms - like chasseur (also hunters), they are what is in the forest,. Chicken is fine, but I really love rabbit (and makes more sense for a hunter's dish). :)
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Re: Chicken Cacciatore

by Jenise » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:44 pm

Mushrooms--I get it. Makes perfect sense, Dale. I was going to add them to mine until I started chatting about dinner plans with my brother whose memories of our mother's cacciatore aren't as vivid as mine. Best I remember, Mom's was heavily dependent on both red and green bell peppers but I could well be wrong about the reds, as back then red bell peppers were seasonal even in southern California. But green--always around and always in her cacciatore but few, if any, of the recipes I looked at on line included them.

Rabbit makes sense too. As the author of the article I posted the link to said, who goes out hunting and only comes back with a chicken?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Chicken Cacciatore

by Paul Winalski » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:48 pm

The Polish also have a dish called Hunter's Stew. The common theme in all of them (chasseur, cacciatore, bigos) seems to be mushrooms.

-Paul W.

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