Poultry

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  1. Chicken Cacciatore
  2. Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken Cacciatore

This is a hands-down favorite and a staple in the regular rotation of fall and winter dinners.  I have been playing with this for years and this version is for the kids and only has a tiny bit of wine.   Literally, chicken cacciatore is ‘hunter’s stew’ and is designed to be made on the spot, in the woods by mighty chicken hunters with on hand ingredients.  Given that these are Italian hunters, it is no wonder they happen to have a dry white wine in one of their pockets.

  • 3 Tbls butter, divided
  • 2 Tbls olive oil, divided
  • 4 to 6 chicken thighs
  • 5 scallions, three shallots or one onion chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 16 oz mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • a splash of dry white wine
  • 3/4 to 1 c homemade chicken stock (see Stock page)
  • 6 plum tomatoes skinned and chopped (or 1 can or not in season)
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti
  • 1 Tbls flour
  • grated parmesan
  • chopped fresh parsley

Put a large pot of water on the back burner for the pasta.

Melt 1 Tbls butter with 1 Tbls olive oil in a heavy dutch oven.  Brown chicken thighs on both sides.  Remove from pot.  Replenish butter and olive oil if necessary and add onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Saute stirring until onion is translucent.  Remove vegetables from pan.  Use a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan.  (Usually this recipe calls for 1/4 or 1/2 cup of wine.  My kids don’t like it this way.  If you are cooking for adults or people who like that wine flavor feel free to use that much.  Remember that wine intensifies saltiness so adjust the amount of Parmesan you use).

Return chicken to pot and add chicken stock and tomatoes.  Let this simmer for about 15 minutes.  Turn on the heat for the pasta.  Add the vegetables and simmer a further 15  minutes.

When the water boils, stir in the pasta and cook it to the consistency that you like.  When I drain pasta I put the full colander back in the pot to keep warm.  Usually I toss it with a little bit of olive oil and some grated parmesan cheese to keep it from sticking.  Then I put the pot top over it to keep it steamy and warm.

In the meantime, you should keep an eye on the chicken because depending on the size it may cook faster or slower.  My kids don’t eat the chicken so I tend to cook all the flavor into the broth.  I grind the meat for other dishes, for example, enchiladas.

While the chicken is cooking,  smash together 1 Tbls butter, flour and finely grated Parmesan cheese.  Remove chicken to covered dish.  Fish out vegetables with a slotted spoon.  Stir the butter and flour mixture into the remaining broth to thicken.  Put the pasta in a big bowl and pour over the thickened gravy.  Top with chopped parsley.

I serve this with the pasta and gravy, vegetables and chicken in separate dishes.  The kids put together their plates as they like.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is a great recipe because it is so flexible.  My kids like green olives.  You can substitute whatever complementary flavors that you wish,  for example sun-dried tomato and basil or oil-cured olives and rosemary.

pie plate or quiche pan

cooking spray
bread crumbs
cream cheese (or neufchatel or tofu based spread)
sliced green olives
three boneless chicken breasts
egg

Coat the pan with cooking spray. Cover with breadcrumbs. Mash the cream cheese with sliced olives. Pound chicken breasts really thin. Layer bottom of the pan with one chicken breast. Smear half the cream cheese mixture. Layer another chicken breast then cream cheese and top with the last chicken breast. Separate the egg. Beat the white until stiff. Beat the yolk until light yellow. Smear the top of the chicken with the yolk and coat with bread crumbs. Spread the white around the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Note:

Lining the pan with breadcrumbs makes clean up really easy.

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