This morning I noticed the first Dark-Eyed Junco foraging for food under one of my feeders. Later in the day, I noticed not only a Yellow Rumped Warbler hopping about in the red oak, but also an Orange Crowned Warbler flitting around in the crape myrtle and Purple Finches at the feeders. Wow – stellar day for bird watching. Late in the afternoon on Saturday I glanced out the back windows only to spot 2 large white breasted birds sitting in a cedar tree on the back pasture fence line. Upon closer inspection I discovered them to be a pair of Red-Tail Hawks with eyes to the ground intent on finding dinner. Beautiful birds! Seeing all the small birds today reminds me that winter is indeed upon us, perhaps not in my neck of the woods, but up north the chill winds have spurred the winter migration for many of our feathered friends. Seeing these beautiful birds brings a smile to my face.
I’m sorry to say the recipe I am going to share with you today didn’t make me as happy as seeing my feathered friends. Now, don’t get me wrong it is tasty and flavorful and colorful, but not what I expected for a dish called “Chicken Cacciatore”.
Recently, my man Dan was captivated by a photo of lasagna on the cover of a BH&G magazine in the grocery store titled “Ultimate Italian”. I make a darn good lasagna without a recipe, but he just wouldn’t stand for me not to bring this magazine home. His motive I’m sure was to coax me into whipping up a pan of cheesy sausage and spinach lasagna. Guess I should’ve gone with lasagna, but I like Chicken Cacciatore and this recipe is full of healthy veggies, which I’ve been in the mood for, so it sounded ideal.
In the past when I’ve made cacciatore it’s been rather tomatoey, the way I prefer it. This interpretation is not and I had suspicions when I read the ingredients list. My only true disappointment is that it’s not tomato saucy enough for me. I went ahead with the recipe exactly as written in the magazine. It produces tender chicken pieces, full of flavor from fresh herbs, and as I said before it’s loaded with veggies, a sneaky way to get Miss T to actually eat a few. If you aren’t a big tomato fan you’ll like it just fine but if you want a saucy, tomatoey cacciatore (I do) you’ll want to move on, or add a half can of tomato paste, which is what I plan on doing next time I make it. There are three redeeming attributes of this dish; 1. wine is an ingredient which automatically requires a glass for the chef; 2. it cooks in a crock pot; 3. it makes a colorful presentation.
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/14-4 lbs. chicken thighs, breasts and drumsticks, skinned
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
1/14 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 large)
1 cup c hopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp. snipped fresh basil, Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Place flour in a plastic bag. Add chicken pieces, a few at a time, shaking to coat. In an extra-large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, half at a time if necessary in hot oil about 12 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add drained tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion, carrots, wine 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to mixture in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 6-7 hours or high setting for 3-31/2 hours. Stir in herbs just before serving. Serve with pasta of your choice or over steamed rice.