Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore... or Another Chicken and Random Ingredients Recipe

I try to follow recipes. I do. Really. But these crazy chefs out there really think that I'm going to go out and buy a red onion when I have 37 yellow ones, or spend precious dollars on things like herb garnishes and saffron when really, who cares? Give me meat and potatoes and try not to screw it up, please.

I suppose you can take the girl out of the Midwest...

Anyway, we found ourselves hungry one evening so I decided to go the way I went the night I made chicken scallopini, as in, find whatever you can and put it over chicken.

At this point, I need to recant a few of my statements in the previous chicken scallopini post. My boyfriend has a great selection of food in his pantry. He is an amazing cook. He has perfectly proportional arms that don't drag on the ground. He has lots of important people who want to be his friend.

Now that I'm out of the doghouse, on with the eats.

This picture is s total lie. Some of these things are in this dish, yes, but not all. Those mushrooms on the left there? They went bad. That chicken broth? Didn't use it. There's no onion in this dish either. But I did use: 3 chicken breasts, a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, dry red wine, extra virgin olive oil, pasta, capers, red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Did I tell you I put capers in every dish with chicken and pasta? I meant it.

This is the wine we chose tonight. It's pretty tasty... but can I tell you? We like all wine. Don't believe us if we say we have any idea what we're talking about. This wine is dry. And it's red. And that's all I know.

And how about this guy? Ain't he cute? This is Art's roommate's wine stopper. Art flies the T-6 Texan these days, and there may or may not be a tiny T-6 cork on its way to Southwest Texas. I'm just saying.

So, um, here's a picture of some chicken. I should probably stop drinking wine when I'm taking pictures and cooking.

Drizzle some olive oil in a big pan, wait for it to get hot, and then sear the chicken for about 3 minutes on both sides. Don't worry about it cooking all the way through - that will come later when we mix it with the sauce. Once it's golden on either side, take it out of the pan and set aside.

And here's some garlic. I actually took this picture so you could see how delightful the kitchen looks around dinner time. The sun sets right behind the house and the light is just gorgeous.

Anyway, around 5 gloves. It's an Italian recipe, for Pete's sake.

Once upon a time, I used to refuse to use garlic presses, for two reasons. One, the only one we have in my house was red plastic and just made a pulpy mess, if you could get it to press at all. Two, I consider myself a purist. I like to open wine with wine keys too.

But that was until a gorgeous military man introduced me to this:

My life changed forever.

If there's not enough oil in the pan leftover from the chicken, add a little more. Otherwise, turn the heat to medium and add your garlic and as much red pepper flakes as you would like. I think I put in about a teaspoon, but you could certainly add more if you like. It's ok with me.

And hey! Do you know what you should be adding if you aren't like me and let things go bad in your refrigerator! Mushrooms! You don't have to. But you should.

Don't let the garlic burn, just brown it up enough so that it gets sweetened in the oil.

Are you ready? Are you realllllllly ready? This is where you may fall over dead from the delicious smell of this meal.

Take about a cup of red wine and dump it in to your pan (if it's an open flame, please save your eyebrows and remove it from the stove for a hot minute). Deglazing? Yes, that's what it is called.

Now, there's alcohol cooking off of this at a very rapid rate, so try not to lean over the pan to take a picture while this is happening. It's a little potent.

This doesn't need long at all to cook. Once the wine has a little time to reduce, add the crushed tomatoes. While that's heating, cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the sauce.

We're here:

Oh dear! I almost forgot the capers! Don't you forget the capers. Don't you dare.

I wanted to stop for a second and let you see what I have been seeing every day for the past three weeks. Sunset around this place is so relaxing. Ahhhhh.

Annnnd we're cooking. Taste the sauce, and then add in whatever spices you like. I'm a huge fan of dried oregano, so in when a bunch of that. I added in some dried parsley too, just so I could claim to be cultured and experimental.

If you have fresh basil by any chance, that would be divine in this as well. Don't forget your salt and pepper!

You can serve this over pasta or just on its own. We like carbs around here so I made some spaghetti, but my next venture is to put this on a loaf of bread and have me a sammich. MMMMM.

Enjoy friends!!