Chicken Cacciatore great for a self-isolating weekend, by Kate Johnson (recipe)
One of my favorite comfort meals is Chicken Cacciatore. It is a meal that can be made in the fall and winter at home when you are dug in and wanting to stay warm, cozy and well fed. But it can also be a great meal on a self-isolating weekend (previously referred to as camping) when you want to cook something easy but slow.
Mark and I spend a good deal of time sitting around jamming when we camp. Therefore, it is nice to cook something that can be thrown together but takes a little time to steep.
In this recipe I use a whole, skin-on chicken. You could easily substitute for parts with or without skin. I believe the skin adds a good deal of flavor and you can always set it aside when you eat.
1 2.5-3 pound chicken – cut up
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions – sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic – minced
1⁄2 pound mushrooms sliced
16 ounces tomatoes
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
2 bay leaves
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
1 pound spaghetti or rotini cooked (or can serve over cooked vegetables)
Directions for home: In skillet, brown chicken in olive oil, remove and set aside. In same skillet cook onion and garlic until tender but not brown. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Return chicken to skillet and cover with mixture. Simmer 30-60 minutes. Stir in wine and cook another 15 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaves; skim off fat, serve over pasta.
Directions for camping: Plan to prep your onions, garlic and mushrooms before, or, you can bring them whole and do it at the campsite. Put all your spices into a small container when prepping for your trip. I do all of my camp “oven” cooking on a small propane BBQ. You could use cast iron as well. Fire it up – cook your chicken pieces until nice and brown (either BBQ or sauté in oil in a Dutch oven). Set aside. Clean your BBQ with a good metal brush. Take a foil container (or I have a metal pan that fits nicely) and sauté onions and garlic in olive oil (you only need a couple tablespoons as you won’t be cooking the chicken in oil). Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Place your chicken and remaining ingredients into the pan, cover with foil and turn your BBQ to medium or medium/low. Put lid on your BBQ (so it can act as an oven). Simmer for 30-60 minutes. If I cook spaghetti at camp I do it in a fry pan broken up — or use rotini and cook in a pot.
Take care, be safe, stay home and enjoy!
Kate Johnson is a long-time resident of Carson City. She practices pharmacy locally and is an avid gardener, cook, musician and lover of dogs.