Monday, 1 October 2007

Why Did The Chicken Cross the Road? To Catch A Tory

By popular demand, I have been asked to post a recipe that requires little time to prep and can be cooked in a slow cooker (or crock pot or whatever you call it). When I say "popular demand", I mean my sister-in-law who is a mother and likes to cook simple meals that has no dairy and can be enjoyed by her kids.

This is a "Hunter Style" recipe for the people who love their hearty comfort food. There are numerous ways to cook Chicken Chasseur (or Cacciatore) and it frequently involves what's left in the fridge or whatever herbs are grown in the backyard.

There are a few things that are required of course, and the technique is usually the same, but if you prefer shallots over red onion, yellow peppers over red, or cremini mushrooms over button, go ahead and use up whatever you have in the fridge.

You can use chicken legs or breasts, whatever you prefer. Personally, I prefer both so I typically purchase whole chickens and portion it myself and make a stock with the carcass and the trimmings from the vegetables. If you are like my wife and abhor the idea of touching dead, lifeless poultry, purchase just breasts and legs and you will ready to go.

"Hunter-Style" Braised Chicken

1 Whole Chicken, 1 kg, portioned into 8 or 2 Chicken Breats and 2 Chicken Thighs and 2 Drumsticks
1 Large Red Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
100 g Mushrooms, thinly sliced
150 ml Wine, red or white
125 g tomatoes, canned and crushed
200 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 Red Pepper, medium diced
1 Green Zucchini, medium diced
2 Sprigs of Fresh Basil, thinly chiffonade
1 Sprig of Oregano, finely chopped
1 Sprig of Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Season chickens with salt and pepper.

On medium high heat, brown all sides of the chicken portions. Remove from heat. Add a little oil and saute onion, pepper, mushroom for 1 minute. Add zucchini and garlic and cook for one minute. Deglaze with wine and reduce by half. Add crushed tomatoes and stock. Add salt and pepper.

Add chickens to pot and cover. If you are using a crock pot, use same method and cook for 45 minutes on low heat. If you are cooking in a stock pot, place into a preheated oven at 300 degrees and cook for half an hour.

Add fresh herbs and stir well. Adjust to seasonings. If the sauce is too thin, remove chicken and keep hot. Reduce the sauce on high heat until desired thickness.

Serves 4.

Variation: You can go nuts on this one. Serve this with pasta and it Chicken Cacciatore, serve it with rice, add some cream and it's Chicken Hongroise, omit the herbs and use paprika and sour cream and you have Chicken Paprika. Or go nuts and add some bacon, use red wine only and use up the pearl onions you've in your cupboard for the past year and wow your friends and family with Coq au Vin. Pretty easy and impressive stuff.

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