Tuesday, February 26, 2008

An Unconventional Cacciatore

This post is dedicated to my friend Jodi. You remember Jodi's sweet husband Eric don't you? He prepared that marvelous Lemon Butter Chicken (which I keep meaning to make again!)

Jodi recently sent me on a mission. She wanted an old recipe that she had once tried for chicken cacciatore which included carrots and broccoli. I know... I know... most cacciatore recipes don't call for these ingredients. But she had made it once before and she really wanted to make it again. So I went though several popular recipe sites and found around 6 variations of the recipe that looked promising.

I read reader comments on how their grandmothers made it (better than anyone else of course!), whether or not you should coat the chicken with flour before sauteeing it, whether the sauce should be thick or thin, whether you should use white wine or red, whether or not you should include mushrooms, whether or not it should be served over pasta, rice or nothing at all, whether potatoes should go in it... you get the picture!

So basically... I decided that the only right way to make chicken cacciatore was possibly anybody's guess. I am not Italian and I don't claim to really know anything about true Italian cooking, but I think you can definitely play with this recipe and make it to your liking.

Here is my version. I simply had to make it after seeing all the different versions, and I stuck to my guns and just used ingredients we had on hand! I'm so glad I did!! I used beef instead of chicken (cooking from the pantry this week!) and I used both white and red wine (oh the shame!), added lots of veggies, I didn't coat the meat with flour, and I served it over thin gluten free pasta! Michael and I both LOVED this recipe! What a success! The sauce is thin, rich, and well flavored! I could eat this meal right out of the pan! I wouldn't want it any other way! What is your favorite cacciatore recipe?

Carrie's Fire-Roasted Beef Cacciatore

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. beef roast, sliced into thin strips or small cubes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, julienned
1-2 cups small carrots, julienned
1 small head broccoli florets
1 (14.5 oz.) can fire-roasted petit-diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, parsley, and basil
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup white or red wine
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

1. Steam carrots and broccoli with 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes (or until fork tender) in the microwave or on the stove top. Set aside.
2. Saute beef in hot olive oil until cooked to your liking. Remove from skillet.
2. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper (I used both orange and green peppers) and saute until onions are transparent. Return the meat to the skillet.
3. Add white or red wine to deglaze the pan. Add tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and spices. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes on medium-low heat. Correct seasonings to taste.
4. Serve immediately over gluten free pasta or brown rice. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on just before serving if desired.

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