Chicken Cacciatore – “Hunter Stew”

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Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, herbs, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit (coniglio alla cacciatora). Basically the hunters would use what they could gather in the woods, and use gamey meats like rabbit, venison, etc. I will have mine without Thumper and Bambi please.

I am not really sure of how chicken was introduced, though one story is that if the hunter returned home empty handed his wife would go out back and kill a chicken and add it to the vegetable stew.

Another story is that the chicken got into the hunter’s vegetables like carrots, onion, and celery. And when the hunter caught the chicken, he became the dinner for the hunter and his family.

There are so many different variations of this dish based upon ingredients available in specific regions. For example, in southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine, while northern Italian chefs might use white wine. Some variations include bell peppers and mushrooms mixed in with the vegetables. I wish I had mushrooms on hand when I made this meal, the sauce would have gone great with the flavors of the mushrooms.

Chicken Cacciatore – “Hunter Stew”

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs chicken, I used boneless/skinless thighs and breasts
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onion, thinly sliced root to tip
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white or red wine, I used red wine.
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 ts salt & pepper
  • 1 ts dry basil (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)
  • 1 ts dry parsley (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Once everything is combined coat chicken pieces on both sides. Place chicken in the hot oil and cook 5-6 minutes on both sides. Once chicken is done remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan that the chicken was cooked it add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender. Add the parsley and stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add the chicken stock to pan. Using a spatula deglaze the pan. Bring to a slow boil.
  5. Add in the 1/2 cup wine. Bring back to a boil. Boil on medium-high for 5 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and continue to cook until the chicken is completely cooke all the way, about 30-40 minutes.

We served ours over white rice. You can serve it over pasta, rice or potatoes. I hope that you enjoyed this little trip to Italy as much as we did. What country will our taste buds take us to next time?

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Stocking up on Chicken Stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

We all have roasted a chicken or turkey at some point. Whether it is for a big Thanksgiving day meal or a simple Sunday dinner. But did you know that throwing away the bones you are throwing away money?! I know crazy thought but it is true. You can take those bones and turn them into chicken/turkey stock for your next soup, gravy, etc. And stretch you money even further. I know what you are thinking, you don’t have time to slave over a hot stove all day. Well guess what, you don’t have to. Follow these very simple steps and I promise you are not going to buy stock or bouillon again.

I made this batch of chicken stock from my BBQ pulled chicken we had for dinner last night. I just boiled the chicken first then separated the meat from the bones. Put the bones back in and shredded the chicken for what I want. Waste not want not.

Simple Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 stalks celery
  • bundle of  parsley
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 large carrots

Directions:

  1. Combine chicken and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat. Skim off foam.DSC_0019
  2. Remove chicken from stock, reserving chicken for another use. DSC_0020After taking all the meat off the bones put all the remains back into the stock. Let simmer for 1 hour. DSC_0022Strain stock through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth.DSC_0031
  3. You may have to do this a couple of times to get everything out.
  4. Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies. Skim off fat. <- This is important. you don’t want to can fat, it is not safe for canning. But if you are going to place it in the freezer, this step would be up to you.
  5. Heat stock to a boil. <- At this point you can either  freeze your stock or you can can it. I prefer canning. Follow the directions below for canning.

For canning the stock:

  1. Prepare pressure canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

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    Heat jars and lids in the canner for 10 minutes.

  2. Ladle hot stock into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.DSC_0037
  3. Process filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

See I told you would not be in the kitchen all day making this stock. There are so many benefits to making your own stock 1) it is healthier than store bought 2) you know everything that went into making it 3) will help cut down on cooking time 4) has a much better flavor 5) you are not wasting money by buying something you can do yourself 6) it cost a fraction of the store bought. I can go on forever talking about the money you can save by canning and making things at home. 🙂

Okay let’s look at the break down of making the chicken stock:

$2 for the chicken bones + $0.15 for the carrots + $0.25 for the celery + $0.60 for the onion + $0.10 for the parsley = total is $3.10 to make one large pot stock. That break done to $0.45 for every 16 oz jar canned (about every 2 cups). Try going to the store and buying it at that price to make that much, I bet you can’t. And your homemade stock is sooo much better.

Rememeber: these are only estimates for the area that I live in. Your prices maybe be different.

Turkey Round 2

This year my family over did it with the turkey eating. We have three turkeys in a weeks time, boy scouts had a dinner, girl scouts had a lunch and well Thanksgiving. So eating left over turkey was not all that appealing to us. What was I going to do? I had a ton of turkey leftover and I hate wasting food.

Well the first thing I did was I canned some turkey soup for the cold months ahead, 6 quart size jars! And I still have more turkey to eat, a lot more to eat! So time to get creative. Who said that turkey is just for dinner and lunch, why not giving breakfast a turn?

Surprising my breakfast idea was spot on. It was sweet and savory and didn’t taste like Thanksgiving leftovers at all. Best part is you don’t need to buy any extra ingredients, you probably already have all the ingredients in the pantry and fridge.

Egg and Turkey Hash

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery stock
  • 1/4 c onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small gala apple, cubed
  • 1 lb turkey, cut into cubes
  • 5- 6 eggs, for fried eggs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place olive oil in a frying pan, heat on medium heat.
  2. Take your celery stalk & onion, finely chop then add then to the skillet.
  3. Peel potatoes and dice into cubes. Then add to to skillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender.
  4. Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Add apples, turkey, and thyme to the potato mixture and toss. Transfer to a cookie sheet and place inside oven to keep warm while making the fried eggs.
  5. Plate the hash then place the fried egg on top. Garnish with parsley if you want too. Enjoy.

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