If there there was only one cookbook I could take to an abandoned island the ONE I would take would be Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Sorry, Julia Childs, and French cuisine! Your food is yummy but just WAY too complicated for the modern woman who likes to present a delicious tasty meal to the family but has no time to cook.
Here is a recipe from Hazan’s book that I altered to fit the needs of the busy mother, dollmaker, writer, artist. In the cookbook it’s refered to as:
Chicken Fricassee, Cacciatore Style
Cacciatore means hunter style because, as Hazan claims, there is a hunter in every Italian family, and that’s the type of dish people would cook up after chasing down a rabbit or wild bird. No wild birds or rabbits big enough to eat in my yard – so some storebought chicken thighs will have to do..
5-6 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
a plate with some flour on it
Black pepper freshly ground
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small disks
1 stalk of celery, cut into small pieces crosswise
a big splash of white wine
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 garlic clove
2/3 cup imported Italian tomatoes chopped in their juice (hopefully you will be luckier than me and can find some that are not in a can!)
Now the first part of the recipe is a bit more involved. You have to brown the chicken nicely, and browning a piece of meat takes a bit of patience. But I promise your efforts will be rewarded with superior taste. Once you got that part done, it’s very easy! So take your chicken thighs, rinse them under cold water, and pat them dry. Place them on the plate with the flour and dip both sides in the flour. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken in it. First do the skin side, then do the other side.
While the meat is browning chop your vegetables and the garlic clove. When the meat is brown, sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides. Place your pieces of chicken in the bottom of a crock pot. Take the sliced onion and soften it in the pan drippings from browning the meat. Cook them until they are turning a nice yellow color.
Now layer all the vegetables including the onions and tomatoes over the meat in the crock pot. Add a big splash of white wine. Turn the crock pot dial to “high”. Cook the meal on that setting for about 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to low. Now you can go back to your craft or whatever other chore you need to do. When the family comes home from their busy day (in about 3-4 hours) you will be able to present them with a delightful meal. That yummy chicken will just fall off the bones. Perfection! Serve with some brown rice, noodles, or as a stew in a bowl with some crusty bread on the side.
Ulla Seckler is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned. Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.