Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pollo alla Cacciatore - Italian

This is my first attempt at cooking this classic Italian dish. You will always find this dish on the menu at most Italian restaurant. There are so many variation and interpretation of this dish, which present a challenge to cook one and see how it will turn out. I pulled out several versions from the net and try to figure out what is common in this dish. Cacciatore means hunter, therefore the chicken cook in Hunter's style. I suppose any bird with bones on it, cooked with Italian herbs sauce falls into this category of dish.

Well, the dish turned out good with rounds of compliments from the family. 

The next day, I consulted my colleague, Monsieur Rousseaux, whom I always share my culinary adventure; he reckons it is more like the French 'Coq Au Vin' (Chicken cooked in Chasseur sauce), especially with the amount of mushroom I put in and the absence of tomatoes, and a few other ingredients he thinks is essential to the dish, like olives and anchovies (to add some sharp taste to it). Point taken for my next round of Cacciatore!

1 x
1.6kg Fresh Chicken (preferable Free-range) - cut in 8 pieces, i.e. two legs, two thighs, two wings and the back cut in half.
2 tblsp Extra Virgin Oil
1 large Onion, sliced
5 large brown mushroom (or white mushroom whichever is available), sliced
3 sprigs of Parsley, chopped
3 stalks of Oregano, chopped
3 cloves of Garlic, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Half a cup of White wine - that you would drink.

Wash and pat dry the chicken, marinate with salt and pepper In a frying pan large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Brown the chicken parts a small lot at a time until all have been browned. Remove from pan and put them aside.

With the oil still in the pan, add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring until transparent. Return all the chicken pieces to the pan and
stir well so that all the pieces are well coated with the sauce in the pan. Add the Parsley and Oregano. Stir well.

Pour the half cup of white wine over the chicken and mix the ingredients well. Continue on medium heat allowing the wine to evaporate ('reducing it'). When the sauce has thickened, add the mushrooms (should provide more moisture), reduce the heat to Low, cover and cook until done, 30-60 minutes, until the chicken are tender. Serve with rice.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pumpkin Pasta with Rosemary - Mediterranean

On a lovely Spring day at Yarra Valley, we came across a cut piece of Musquee De Provence pumpkin, deep orange in colour. We brought back the small piece of pumpkin and worked out how we can prepare a meal. We found this recipe on the net by James Martin, BBC Food, and cook ourselves a nice dinner. The pasta, from Calabria, southern coast of Italy has been sitting in our larder.

We modify the recipe with healthier options, i.e. we left out the butter and double cream, instead substitute with enough olive oil and 150ml of light cream. More generous amount of garlic and shallots. We use the fresh herbs (parsley and rosemary) from our garden.