One of the good things about finishing my course is that I have more spare time on my hands to do other things I love. For instance, cooking a new dish. I was reading Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, and it struck me that it had been a very long time indeed since I'd cooked anything new. After a bit of debate with B, and trawling through recipe books, I decided to cook a recipe in one of my Delia Smith books.
Chicken Cacciatora was the end result, from Delia's book How to Cook, Book two
After doing this recipe, I can now add jointing a chicken to my cooking repertoire! :)
1 x 3lb (1.35kg) free range chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 largish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1lb 8oz (700g) ripe red tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, bruised and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
10 fl oz (275ml) dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a lidded casserole dish with a capacity of 6 pints (3.5L)
First of all heat the oil in the casserole over a high heat and season the chicken joints with salt and pepper. Then, when the oil gets really hot and begins to shimmer, fry the chicken – in 2 batches – to brown it well on all sides: remove the first batch to a plate while you tackle the second; each joint needs to be a lovely golden-brown colour all over. When the second batch is ready, remove it to join the rest. Now add the onions to the casserole, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they are softened and nicely browned at the edges.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. To do this, pour boiling water over them and leave them for exactly 1 minute before draining and slipping off their skins (protect your hands with a cloth if they are too hot), then chop them quite small.
When the onions are browned, add the garlic to the casserole, let this cook for about 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée, rosemary, bay leaf, white wine and white wine vinegar. Now add some seasoning and bring it up to the boil, then let it bubble and reduce (without covering) to about half its original volume, which will take about 20 minutes. Now add the chicken pieces, stir them around a bit, then put the lid on and allow to simmer gently for 40 minutes, until the chicken joints are cooked through. This is good served with green tagliatelle, noodles, rice or a simple vegetable. (I served with rice, worked well)
The finished product: