Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hunter's Chicken

When I asked my dad what he wanted me to make for his birthday dinner and he said, "Chicken cacciatore," I thought, "Oh, that's easy. That's chicken breasts, dredged in flour, cooked and served with tomato sauce and spaghetti." That may be what I grew up on, but that's NOT chicken cacciatore. Chicken cacciatore, or, pollo alla cacciatore, literally means "hunter's chicken". It's a traditional way of braising chicken in a sauce. NOT with tomatoes. Thanks to my trusty Joy of Cooking and the internet, I was able to make a delicious version that I think everyone enjoyed. Now, technically, since I added mushrooms, it became "pollo alla forestiere" (forester's chicken), but tough beans.

I served it with a traditional side of baked polenta (to be raved about in another post) and some roasted broccoli (the last of the season). And, of course, the meal was followed up with my dad's staple favourite -- pineapple upside-down cake.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredient List

All Purpose flour
table salt
ground black pepper
boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~ 1 kg)
olive oil
white onion (1 medium)
bay leaves (2)
Italian seasoning
wine (red or white), dry
crushed tomatoes (796 mL/28 fl. oz can)
chicken stock/broth
mushrooms (227 g)

Mix ¼ cup AP flour in a bowl with 1 tsp table salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture and brown in batches in the pot. Remove to a plate.

Remove all but 2 tbsp of the fat/oil. Add 1 medium white onion, chopped (~ 1 cup), 2 bay leaves, and 2 tsp Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, for ~ 5 minutes, until the onion browns. Add 2 cloves garlic, minced, and cook for another 30 seconds.

Return the chicken to the pot and add ½ cup dry wine. Scrape up the fond and boil until all of the wine evaporates.

Add 1 can crushed tomatoes and ¾ cup chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes.

Stir in 227 g mushrooms, sliced. Cook for at least 10 minutes, until the juices thicken. (Depending on evaporation, add back some water if needed.)

Season to taste.

Makes 8 servings.

Polenta is a traditional side dish.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 327
Total fat 15 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Cholesterol 111 mg
Sodium 379 mg
Carbohydrate 8 g
Dietary fibre 2 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 38 g
Vitamin A 9 %DV
Vitamin C 15 %DV
Calcium 4 %DV
Iron 11 %DV

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Irish Car Bomb cupcakes!

Today was Gabriel's 25th birthday and last night we had a party to celebrate. Every year I make him a special cake. Two years ago it was a vanilla cake shaped like the weighted companion cube from the video game, Portal:
Last year, it was the peanut butter chocolate cake of death:
This year, Gabriel was just going to go with his default favourite, spice cake, but I sent him over to SmittenKitchen and he decided to go with . . .

Irish Car Bomb cupcakes!

If you're not familiar with the Irish Car Bomb, it's a drink that really mean college kids make their friends drink. You take a mixed shot of whiskey and Bailey's irish cream and drop it into a mostly full pint of Guiness. The poor soul whose lot this is, must chug the disgusting concoction as quickly as possible, before the cream curdles. Blech.

Luckily, these cupcakes were delicious. The cupcakes themselves are made from a Guiness chocolate cake batter. Then, the centers were hollowed out and filled with a whiskey chocolate ganache (think chocolate truffle, yum). Finally, the icing is a basic buttercream, flavoured with Bailey's. I was very pleased with how they turned out and they were a big hit with the crowd!

Original Source: Smitten Kitten - Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes