Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore from Scratch

Home grown fixings: stewed tomatoes. pickled carrots,
strawberries, tomato sauce, chicken, onions.
 Oops! Forgot to include oregano and garlic!
       There are few activities more satisfying than providing well for your family. An example of doing this is serving a meal made (almost exclusively) from food you grew. I got such a kick out of gathering the ingredients and cooking this chicken cacciatore that I want to share the recipe.
       My recipe is a variation of one from a Betty Crocker cookbook. The first item on that ingredient list is two and a half to three pounds of broiler-fryer chicken, cut up. As I serve this dish over spaghetti noodles, I prefer bite-sized pieces of boneless, skinless chicken.
The Recipe: (Serves 4)
       8 oz boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
       1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (more if desired)
       1/2 cup all purpose flour
       1 cup thinly sliced onion rings (or half rings)
       2 cloves garlic, minced
       1 cup thinly sliced portabella mushrooms
       1 pint jar home-canned stewed tomato
       2 cups homemade tomato sauce
       1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
       1/2 teaspoon oregano
       Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Coat with flour and cook over medium heat in preheated olive oil for a few minutes until brown on all sides. Set aside. Stir onion rings, mushrooms, and garlic into oil, Stir and cook until onions are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add chicken. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, longer if you're using an old bird. This is a good recipe to plan for a meal when you're not sure when dinner will be served. Just let it simmer until you're ready to eat.
       Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Do not overcook this! Two ounces uncooked pasta is considered a serving size.
       Serve the cacciatore over the spaghetti (or rice or noodles). If this isn't enough to fill your ravening horde, consider adding a salad or vegetable side dish, and/or cornmeal muffins. I'm generally cooking for only two, so the extra meat sauce goes into the freezer for a ready-to-heat-and-eat meal at a later date.
       I included the chicken in my homegrown photo because it was, by a relative. The onion, garlic, stewed tomato and sauce, and oregano were all homegrown. In the photo of the meal on the table, I also grew and pickled the carrots. If I served cornbread, it would be from homegrown and ground corn. I topped this particular meal off with homegrown strawberries from the freezer. This is so cool! I can't help but want to challenge you to go this route. Now's the time to start planning what you'll plant next spring so you can rise to the challenge! 
       A side note:  My hubby just called and pointed out that I didn't actually use Scratch in preparing this meal. "Scratch" is a kind of chicken feed. Why we use the term to mean starting with basic ingredients I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Probably because chicken was such a staple meat in the older days, and to get chicken on the plate you had to start from Scratch.

    That's my best guess, anyway. The recipe looks yummy, I may try that later in the week.