Chicken Cacciatore

For the past few days, Food Blog Land has been atwitter with recipes for juicy brined turkey, vibrant red cranberry sauces, and festive pumpkin pie.  (I don’t know about you, but is anyone else sick of all of the pumpkin around here?  Okay, please don’t tell anyone I said that.  I’m going to Food Blogger Hell.)

Today I present you with a recipe featuring a much-neglected fowl this time of year, the chicken.  You see, I’m unfortunately just not that excited about Thanksgiving this year.  Heresy, you say!  Where’s my patriotism?  Where are my zeal for food and reverence for a day of totally sanctioned gluttony?  You see, life’s a bit crazy these days.  I have this little thing called a dissertation to write, and my husband has a huge exam he’s studying for, which he’ll be taking on Saturday.  So, I think we are just going take advantage of these next couple of days off to write and study.  Then, Saturday evening, after my husband’s exam, we’ll celebrate.  We’ll have a little belated Thanksgiving bash.  I haven’t finalized our menu yet, but it definitely won’t be your traditional turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy ordeal.

Until our post-holiday party, I present you with this hearty chicken cacciatore (pronounced Catch-A-Tory in English, which brings an entirely new meaning to this dish, now that I think about it…), a simple but delicious dish you can throw together in your Crock-Pot.  “Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian and can be used to describe a dish of chicken (or sometimes rabbit) braised in tomato sauce along with a variety of vegetables.  Given that my version is made in a slow cooker, this dish makes no claim to authenticity (I’m sure Crock-Pots were a staple in the homes of all Italian hunters back in the day), but it was passed down from my Italian family.  Regardless, this dish is comforting, filling, and sure to please!

For those of you who are frantically planning your Thanksgiving menus and know you’ll be spending hours in the kitchen today and tomorrow, here are a few tips from David Lebovitz that will make your holiday less hectic and more pleasant.  He writes about to deal with piles of dirty dishes, limited counter space, and culinary catastrophes.  Hope you find these as useful as I did!

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 8-10

1 whole chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. tomato sauce
10 oz. tomato paste
1 small can or 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, optional (I forgot to add them in this time but highly recommend them if you like mushrooms.)
fresh oregano and parsley, optional
salt and pepper to taste

1. Clean your chicken and place in slow cooker.

2. Add onion, celery, garlic, as well as mushrooms and herbs if using.

3. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste.

4. Stir to make sure vegetables and chicken are covered in sauce. Cook on high overnight, or approximately 6-8 hours, until chicken is cooked and starting to fall off bone.

5. Remove chicken and debone.  Return meat to sauce. Season to taste. Serve over pasta or rice with freshly grated parmesan.

Variations: Add chopped bell pepper, wine (red or white) when adding other ingredients.

Watch out for any tiny bones you may have missed!  Enjoy!

Adapted from my Mama with love

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