A couple of months ago I was wondering about what to cook at the weekend. Readers of my other blog know that I’m a fairly active cook, and I like trying to make things I’ve never heard before. Chicken Cacciatore is one of those dishes that seems to crop up in the background of TV shows and movies as a “dish that should impress guests”. Well thankfully I don’t have that many guests, but Mrs Llama does enjoy tasty food; and personally chicken is about my favourite meat so it seemed a good idea. I think the final straw was Paul Blackthorne in Arrow attempting to make it and fail that finally spurred me to action.
The recipe I used was…confession time…a Jamie Oliver one, although for some reason didn’t use his flavour shaker or special branded pans. Funny that. And while the prep does take a couple of days, the result is well worth it. As with every recipe I follow, I modified the ingredients using smaller pieces of chicken, cutting out the salt and adding a secret extra (thinly sliced Italian sausage during the final oven cooking stage). There’s also a long story involving my quest to find anchovies in the locality that involved a trip to about three stores…only for a tin of them to have been in my cupboard all along! Gah. Thankfully my extensive herb garden supplied all the fresh rosemary and thyme I needed.
But the results – wow. The simple ingredients list and techniques yielded a meal that was simply stunning in terms of breadth and depth of flavour. Served with some very crusty bread and green beans it made for a simply incredible dinner. I could have almost done without the chicken, the sauce was so intense (although of course, part of that is the chicken on the bone making its own stock while it cooks). Even better it reheats in the oven again the next day for a second even easier dinner! The last time I made this, the end of the sauce ended up becoming part of a pan-seared chicken chili dish, and served that well! The first time…there wasn’t any sauce left, and I had to extricate Mrs Llama’s head out of the pan as she had been licking the sides in some sort of frenzied food assault! Didn’t do her hair colouration much good, but she assured me it was worth it.
So a simple, wholesome, delicious dish with very little actual hands on preparation time. What could be a more delicious thing to recommend this Wednesday.