Chicken cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore finished dish

Chicken cacciatore finished dish

LiguriaPollo alla cacciatora. ¬†It is very common to find versions of this dish outside of Italy, especially in the United States, however they often bear little resemblance to dishes found here. Even the spelling has been changed, possibly reflecting a dialect spelling originally used by Italian immigrants to the States. The name translates as hunter’s style chicken. I am a bit unsure why as I am unaware of anybody hunting chickens ūüôā You can also prepare rabbit in this way so maybe that was the original recipe. There are many versions in Italy, but the common factor is the chicken is cooked with white wine and tomatoes. This version is from Liguria. As always, if you can find a really good free range, or at least corn fed chicken it will improve the dish no end. Serves 4-6.

  • 1 chicken cut into cut into 6 or 8 pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Half a celery stalk, chopped
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • A bay leaf
  • A glass of white wine
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, peeled and deseeded (or an equivalent amount of tinned)
Chicken cacciatore ingredients

Chicken cacciatore ingredients

Brown the onions, the celery and the garlic in a large pan.

Chicken cacciatore browning the onions

Chicken cacciatore browning the onions

Add the chicken pieces, rosemary, sage and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes over a reasonably high flame.

Chicken cacciatore browning the chicken

Chicken cacciatore browning the chicken

Lower the flame and add the wine and cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes, stir and cook until the chicken is done. About 45 minutes. Serve directly from the pan.

Variations

  1. Some people like to add a little chopped parsley at the end
  2. You can also add sliced fresh or reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms along with the chicken.
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Chicken stock

As it’s so important to use good stock, I thought I’d include a recipe.

chicken stock ingredients

  • ¬† 1 cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • ¬† 2 celery sticks — roughly chopped
  • ¬† 1 large¬† onion — roughly chopped
  • ¬† 2 carrots — roughly chopped
  • ¬† 1 handful¬† parsley stalks
  • ¬† ¬Ĺ¬† head¬† garlic
  1. ¬†Put the chicken carcasses into a stockpot, cover with 2¬Ĺ litres water and bring to the boil. Using a large metal spoon, skim off any white scum from the surface.
  2. Add the vegetables, parsley and garlic to the pan. Return to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 2¬Ĺ hours, skimming occasionally.
  3. Strain the stock through a colander lined with wet muslin into a large, heatproof bowl. Discard all the debris. Reduce the stock for a stronger flavour, if desired. Cool, chill and use the stock within 3 days or freeze in portions. I reduce the stock as much as I can, and then pour it into ice cube trays.

chicken stock finished

 

Chicken breasts baked with parmesan

Petti di pollo al forno con parmigiano

Serves 4

chicken with parmesan ingredients

  • 4¬†chicken breast portions
  • 2¬†eggs
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt
  • butter
  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl a beat together with a pinch of salt.
  2. Flatten the breasts slightly using a meat mallet or a rolling pin
  3. Dip each breast first into the egg mixture, making sure it is completely covered, then into the parmesan, pressing down with your fingers so it sticks to the fillets.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Butter a baking tray, add the chicken and liberally spot with small knobs of butter
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

chicken with parmesan finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Chicken with mushrooms finished dish

Pollo ai funghi. If you don’t have enough dried mushrooms, you can¬†add a few regular white mushrooms to bulk it out. Serves 4

  • 150 grams dried mushrooms (preferably wild mushrooms)
  • 1 whole chicken cut into portions (or chicken pieces, legs and thighs etc)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 25 grams butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots (or baby onions) — sliced
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons passata
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and squeeze out. Keep the liquid for flavouring soups or stews.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a pan. Add the chicken and fry, turning frequently, until browned all over.
  3. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook for a few minutes, then add the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
  4. Add the passata and 3 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until the chicken is tender. Cooking time will depend on the chicken – it could take up to an hour
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.

Stuffed chicken legs with Parma ham.

This dish looks quite tricky to prepare but is actually very easy. It’s been a favourite of mine for a while now. It turns an ordinary chicken leg into quite a show off dish. Serves 4

Stuffed Chicken Leg ingredients

Stuffed Chicken Leg ingredients

  • 4 whole¬†chicken legs — leg and thigh
  • 4 slices¬†parma ham
  • 50 grams¬†bread crumbs — freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon¬†parsley — chopped
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg — grated
  • 75 grams¬†mortadella — chopped
  • 1 clove¬†garlic — chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • pepper
  • Bone the legs. This is a bit fiddly but not too difficult. You should get one roughly rectangular shaped fillet from each leg.
Boned fillet

Boned fillet

  • Mix together the eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, mortadella and nutmeg to make the stuffing. Season with pepper. Don’t add salt because both the mortadella and the parma ham are quite salty.
  • Place 1/4 of the mix along the centre of each leg fillet.
Fillet with stuffing

Fillet with stuffing

  • Roll up to form a sausage shape and then¬†wrap with a slice of Parma ham. If the slices are quite small then you might have to use two. It is easiest if you place the ham flat on a chopping board, place the chicken on top and then roll up.
stuffed chicken leg ready to cook

stuffed chicken leg ready to cook

  • Place on an oiled baking tray and roast for 20 minutes at 200¬įC 400¬įF or gas mark 6
  • Allow to rest for a few minute and then slice into thick rounds.
Stuffed chicken leg finished dish

Stuffed chicken leg finished dish

Note. The is my version of a recipe by Antonio Carluccio. The original used back bacon instead of Parma ham. If you use bacon you will probably have to tie the fillets with kitchen string. You will also need to brown them in olive oil before roasting

Chicken with capers and lemon

Finally something other than pasta ūüôā This is another really simple dish which tastes great. My attempt to recreate a dish I was served in a university canteen last week. I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that¬†it doesn’t seem to¬†be possible to eat badly here, even in¬†a student canteen!

In the original version the chicken was beaten into a steak, but I¬†prefer it¬†au natural ūüôā ¬†It works best with salted capers but¬†it’s still good¬†with pickled. You must soak either variety first though.

If you can’t find unwaxed lemons, you can wash the wax off¬†in hot water.

 

Serves 4

chicken with capers and lemon ingredients

  4       chicken breasts without skin
           flour for dusting
  50    grams  butter
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†tablespoon¬† capers — preferably salted
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†large¬† lemon — unwaxed if possible
           salt and pepper

  • Dust the chicken breasts with flour
  • Soak the capers in cold water for a few minutes and drain. Squeeze and zest the lemon.
  • Fry the chicken breasts in the butter until golden brown. About 15-20
    minutes depending on the size.
  • Remove the chicken and keep warm.
  • Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice.
  • Add the zest and the capers and stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the chicken breasts and serve.

chicken with capers and lemon finished dish

Ps I was in an artistic mood when I took this shot. Didn’t really work though ūüôā¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†