A Version of Chicken Cacciatore

Although it has been quite a while since I last blogged about my experiences in the kitchen, I am immensely eager to write about this new dish I first tried cooking last night. It’s my version of Chicken Cacciatore, an Italian dish that is usually associated with hunters (Cacciatore actually means “hunter” in English) since it is a slow-cooked dish that makes use of ingredients one can easily bring to or find in forests. True enough, rabbit is also another meat used for cacciatores.

As I was thinking what to cook yesterday for dinner, I remembered that there was still left-over red wine in the refrigerator from the previous day’s late-night affair with my cousins. Suddenly, I thought of making a chicken stew using red wine with chicken parts wrapped in bacon. I checked the freezer and voila! there were bone-in chicken breasts! I checked if we had tomatoes, bay leaves, basil, onions, garlic, bell peppers and sili and luckily, we also had them!

I then googled “Chicken in Red Wine Italian recipe” and I immediately saw “Cacciatore”. Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe came first (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-cacciatore-recipe/index.html) but hers says white wine so I immediately closed the window. However,it then made sense that this easy, if not, “common-sense” dish can be thought-of and executed by anyone who was in the same scenario! Although traditional versions didn’t ask for bacon, I thought of wrapping the chicken breasts in bacon to add that extra layer of flavor and not to mention, fat. I also added green chilies, the one used for sinigang, to give it that extra kick.

But the reason why I am blogging about it is because the dish I cooked last night was just AMAZING! It was slow-cooked, simmered in a Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and flavored by different spices that harmoniously colored the dish. The bacon wrapping also gave my family (of course not me since I made it!) some sense of excitement since the bacon strips concealed the perfectly fried chicken breasts. It was a hearty dish that had various depths of flavor to it. The sauce was thick and the chicken parts had juicy and tender meat; ah yes, I am telling you, it was real “sosyal” comfort food. As one places in his/her mouth a portion of the dish, one’s senses are titillated.

First, there is the Cabernet Sauvignon’s woody, chocolate-y, deep and rich taste that complements the sweetness and tartness of the tomato paste and tomato sauce. Then, there are the subtle spikes in flavor caused by the garlic, laurel, onions, chili and bell peppers. Since I added some paprika, it also added a unique robust taste to the stew. Then, as one bites into the meat, one gets to have a taste of the salty bacon strips that cover the chicken. The chicken, finally, is appreciated for its tenderness and moistness, its juices a bit salty but also fruity as it was marinated with lemon/calamnsi.

I had to control myself from having more rice while my Mama and sister had to break from their diets because of this dish.

It’s a real treat to prepare and partake of this cheap and healthy dish! Not only can you lounge around as it simmers on a low heat, one is even assured that the dish would be a sure success!🙂

INGREDIENTS:
3 Chicken breasts, bone-in, halfed
Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeux to cover the meat
6 Bacon strips
300 mg of Tomato Paste
250 mig of Tomato Sauce
5 medium sized tomatoes, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 whole red onion, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup of Basil, diced
1 tbsp of Spanish Paprika
1/4 cup of tomato-stuffed olives
1/2 green chili, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. of butter
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

PROCEDURE

Fry the marinated chicken breasts, skin-side down. The chicken can be marinated in salt, pepper and calamansi or lemon juice. Coat these in flour and fry, turning one side after 5 minutes. In a pot, saute tomatoes until soft in olive oil. Once the tomatoes have been mashed, add in the garlic and onions and the butter. Just before the garlic bits turn brown, add in the laurel, chili, olives and bell peppers. After 1 minute, add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce and the red wine. Let it simmer in medium heat.

After 4-5 minutes, add in the chicken parts now wrapped in raw bacon strips. Add in the basil and let the entire thing simmer on low heat for a good 10-15 minutes or until the bacon cooks. Add in paprika and some wine if necessary.

Serve piping hot with a side of rice or light pasta.

This dish was hecho ayer.

*THE PHOTOS SADLY DO NO NOT DO JUSTICE to this beautiful dish. I just used my camera phone!

About hechoayer

Things made yesterday still influence us until today. Things made today will influence us tomorrow. Things of the essence such as faith, culture, food, music and values should never disappear nor eroded by the times. Instead, these must be recorded, lived and shared. Something made yesterday - hecho ayer - can be tomorrow's saving grace. Never ignore the past.
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