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It’s funny how some things just sit in the back of your mind, seemingly lost and then sprout up one day and refuse to be ignored. That’s what happened with dinner last night.
It all started when I was at the butcher picking up lamb for Easter dinner. My son had told me that his partner, Jamie, didn’t like lamb (which was a surprise to me) so I was searching for an alternative for her. I picked up some souvlaki made by the butcher, which I know are the yummiest, but I still wasn’t convinced that we had a winner for Jamie. So, at my next stop, I picked up some chicken drumsticks that could be either done in the oven or on the bbq (alongside the lamb and souvlaki).
Turns out we didn’t need them. Jamie loves lamb!!! Go figure!!! ;)
And that’s how it happened. The lamb was bbq’d, the souvlaki met a similar fate, and Easter dinner was a success.
The chicken stayed in the fridge. And on my mind. I’m not sure where it came from, but for the rest of the day Sunday, I kept picturing those drumsticks made into Chicken Cacciatore. Now, I haven’t made that particular dish in years. Quite literally so long ago that I don’t even remember when I last made it but suffice to say that Larry, my partner of the last almost eight years, has NEVER had it. So it was hard to figure why it haunted me Sunday.
Even more bizarre, I decided yesterday, because I was working on taxes in my office all day, that it was just easier to bake them so that’s what I would do. Then I proceeded to walk into the kitchen, pull out my heavy dutch oven, and prepare to make Chicken Cacciatore. Without even consciously changing my mind! ;0
But it was so worth it. Sometimes you just need to go back to the old favourites.
Quantities are approximate. I actually made this yesterday with 24 drumsticks, so twice as much of everything.
12 chicken drumsticks (or equivalent in varied chicken pieces, bone in)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 large Spanish onion, sliced thinly
12 small potatoes, scrubbed and left whole
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 - 28 oz. can plum tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can tomato puree (or half of a 28 oz. can)
Salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste
Oil and butter for browning
Brown the chicken in your dutch oven (or any large heavy bottomed pot) a few pieces at a time until nicely golden. Set aside and dust lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne as you take the pieces out of the pot. In the same pot, sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until the onions are soft and golden. Set aside. Pour plum tomatoes into pot and break up with a potato masher until most of the larger pieces are gone. Add 1/3 of the can of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes then add the tomato puree, a half cup more water, salt and pepper to taste, oregano and two fresh bay leaves. Allow this all to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour.
Add back the onion mixture and the potatoes. Stir well, adjust seasoning slightly, add a bit more water if necessary (potatoes should be just covered) and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Add back your chicken pieces, reduce heat to low, cover loosely and walk away. Literally. After about 45 minutes, come back and check on it, stir it around a bit to make sure everything is evenly distributed, and leave it alone for another 30 minutes or so.
You want your potatoes to be falling apart and the chicken almost falling off the bone.
Serve with crusty bread, sit back and collect the praise.
Like I said, I made this with 24 drums and now Larry has lunches for the rest of the week. He’s a happy man!!!