Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 7th - Chicken Cacciatore with Marsala and Capers

13th Day of Christmas

So yesterday marked the official end of Christmas!  I'm kind of sad because Brian went to all the trouble of putting up our decorations all by himself and now he's got to take them all down.  He did a very good job this year; our house looked very nice.  (Some years he goes overboard with the chachkis)

Here's a picture I took yesterday when I came home from school.  I liked the way the light was coming through the windows.

But besides the decorations, I am SO GLAD Christmas came and went fast this year!  This was the first year I wasn't working in a restaurant, so to pick up some extra money I worked retail.  Oye Vey!  I don't get how people can get so worked up over material things?  People were literally flipping out over that fact that we ran out of stuff at the store.  Seriously, they were doing back flips in the store. (Brian hates when people misuse the word literally.) And I'm like...It's a jar of gravy...quit freaking out and go learn how to make it from scratch.  Oh, pain in the ass.

I got up early this morning to do some snow blowing.  Never used the snow blower before.  I know. How do you grow up in Wisconsin and never use a snowblower??  It's called laziness, my friend.  If I didn't have to shovel, I wouldn't.  But...that's the fun thing about owning your own home.  You get to shovel (or snowblow) your driveway and the sidewalks, or risk the wrath of your neighbors.  I really don't want to be "that house" on the block (like the neighbors across the street). 

First attempt at snowblowing went okay.  Still getting used to spinning the shooter hood around... (Tee hee)...but other than that, I think I like it.  I'm sure I'll be out there again in a few hours the way the snow is piling up. 

So after I dug my way out of the house, I walked to the grocery store because I forgot to buy onions!  Wah wah wah wah...waaah.  We live really close to a grocery store and I didn't want to have to drive, so I thought I'd take a nice stroll. Yep,  you guess it.  On my way there, slipped and fell right on my ass.  Luckily no one saw.  (Isn't funny how when you fall you immediately look around to see if anyone saw you?)  Luckily whoever shoveled didn't do a good job and there was a good amount of snow to break my fall.  Bad part, walking around the grocery store with a wet butt.  Stupid onions!

When I looked at this recipe today, I saw one of my arch-enemies on the list of ingredients, GREEN PEPPERS.  Since I sinned and added raisins to brownies, I figured Bon Appetit owed me and I could substitute red peppers for the awful green variety. 


Whole chicken:  $3.43
Olive Oil: (had)
Mushrooms:  $1.59
Red Peppers:  $1.58
Onion: $0.78
Garlic:  (had)
Dried Oregano: (had)
Marinara sauce: (had)
Chicken broth: (had)
Marsala:  (had)
Capers:  (had)

Total: $ 7.38

Since this recipe makes you cut up a whole chicken, it actually has a bonus to it.  I took the carcass and made stock with it, which I will freeze and use for other recipes!  Score.  Cutting up a chicken is pretty easy once you do it a couple of times.  The key is to be confident and to get in there and crack the bones (it will make cutting easier).

At first I thought the use of purchased marinara sauce was a little "low brow" for Bon Appetit.  Then I remembered this was Fast, Easy, and Fresh.   It does save you a ton of time.  And, since you're adding vegetables, marsala, and capers to the sauce, it can be pretty cheap.  (Although, watch the sodium and sugar contents on the cheap marinara sauces; they can get awfully high).

To develop more flavor for the sauce, I let the mushrooms brown on their own.  (Ever since I made Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, I now know the value of properly sauteed mushrooms.)  Otherwise, I feel the mushroom flavor wouldn't develop fully if you followed the instructions exactly.


Fast:  This recipe took me an hour.  Browning the chicken pieces took 15 minutes and the simmering of the chicken in the sauce took about 25 (to make sure it was fully cooked).  That is were you'll spend the bulk of your time.

Easy:  If you don't know how to cut up a whole chicken, then this recipe won't be so easy.  I suppose you could just use already fabricated thighs or breasts (but you wouldn't get the bonus of making your own chicken stock).  Otherwise, everything else for the recipe is just cutting, sauteing, and throwing it all together.

Fresh:  Yes.  It would be a lot fresher tasting if you skipped the marinara sauce and used a good can of imported tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes, but that's later on in the year).

Overall:  I'm pleased with my substitution.   The red peppers made this recipe a lot sweeter, which I like, because it couter-acts the dry Marsala.  I would definitely recommend getting a good loaf of crusty French or Italian bread because the sauce is really good.  I'm actually going to keep this recipe and try it during the summer with fresh tomatoes. 

I peeked ahead to tomorrow and it's cocktail time!!  It couldn't come soon enough!!


Nikki said...

I'm moving in. When's dinner?

Peace said...

I'm not taking sides, but I'm with Brian in that you can't have too many chachkis. LOVIN' the pink arrangement. Also, hungry now.

(Peace -Peacewytch from swapbot..again)