Celery, green pepper/capsicum, my massive jar of garlic which I never thought I would get through which is now 2/3 empty, chopped anchovies, carrots next door to them, zucchini on the blue plate, olives, mushrooms fresh from the freezer.
With The Other Half going camping, this is a great opportunity to use ingredients he does not enjoy eating but I love eating. Chicken Cacciatore is #1 on my list to make when he is away.
Firstly because I can make a big saucepan full of awesomeness. Secondly because I can add in mushrooms, anchovies and olives not at the *end* of the cooking process but in the correct places – as I would have to if making it for The Other Half to consume.
Thirdly because this is the kind of meal that gets better each day it remains in the fridge. Fourthly, I can pack it full of vegetable goodness when nobody is looking.
I added some celery in this time. Not a normal addition to my recipe but I had some in the fridge and the chooks apparently do not like to eat it.
I think everyone has their own version of this – the traditional one has capers but I did not have any of those on hand. Mine has always had anchovies because I love their saltiness.
I always start by frying the anchovies and garlic in a combination of olive and coconut oil. Then I add in all the vegetables to sweat in the hot pan for a good 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
In a separate frypan I poach the chicken in white wine, covering with a lid. One can do it in the same pan as the vegetables. I just prefer to poach the chicken separately to save a little cooking time. I like to do this while the vegetables sweat, then add everything – chicken and remaining white wine – in with the vegetables.
Once the vegetables have had their steam bath – towards the end you can throw in some red wine to make it extra steamy – you add in the chicken then your tomato elements and extra red wine if you like it. Today I used passata and chopped tomatoes, sometimes I will put in some tomato paste as well.
Now the tricky part, at least for me. I like to let this simmer on the stove for a good couple of hours before eating. This would be easier if it did not smell so awesome. If like myself you cannot resist, a small bowl of this topped with parmesan may tide you over until the flavours have merged together.
This is not really a traditional recipe because I am not giving you amounts or telling you exactly what to put in here. This is the ultimate in fly by the seat of your pants cooking.
Add in what you like in the amounts you like, and it will still work. Don’t like anchovies? Just fry garlic then add in the vegies. Don’t like X vegetable? Don’t add it in. Don’t like to cook with wine? Don’t use it. Don’t want chicken? Add in the meat of your choice, or no meat at all if you prefer. Find the tomato sauce a little thin? Add in tomato paste.
Happy Making It Your Own! :)