Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


One peasant dish, a million recipes.

Google chicken cacciatore and you'll find recipes variously calling (aside from chicken) for carrot, capsicum, celery, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, anchovy fillets, rosemary, flour, capers, basil, parsley and olives, among other ingredients. If I kept searching I'd probably find one with pineapple in it, from the 1960s. But then again, everything in the 1960s had pineapple in it.

All of which is fine, apart from the pineapple of course, but personally I prefer chicken cacciatore to feature just the bird and mushrooms, accompanied with tomato and a few herbs. Like this:

Brown a chopped onion and a scored garlic clove in oil. Remove from pan. In the same pan, fry one kilogram of skin-free chicken pieces on the bone until browned. Place chicken pieces in a casserole. Place the cooked onions and garlic over the chicken.

Into the same pan, place a can of diced tomatoes, half a cup each of white wine and chicken stock and one-inch sprigs each of fresh thyme and oregano. Bring it to the boil and simmer five minutes. Add pepper liberally; salt less so if the stock is salted.

Now pour the tomato and mushroom sauce over the chicken. Bake forty-five minutes. Your house will smell exactly as a house should in one of the coldest Mays in Melbourne for nearly thirty years.

Serve your steaming, aromatic casserole with sides of creamed spinach, mashed potatoes flecked with quartered black olives and fresh crusty bread. Drink this.


Cacciatore: It., lit. "hunter," from pp. of cacciare "to hunt, chase," from V.L. *captiare (see catch).

Funny how words find each other again. The first syllable of the Italian word sounds like our word 'catch' and in fact they share a common origin from Roman days. V. L. being vulgar Latin. From the street.

(Etymology from one of my favourite websites, the Online Etymology Dictionary. Don't go there. You'll lose hours of your life.)


Anne said...

It took approximately 3 seconds to find a recipe with pineapple in it, on And ketchup. I like your version better. We have to add the mushrooms at serving, as we have 2 mushroom eaters and two who don't know any better.

neil said...

St Ignatius is also the name of a winery at Avoca which is named after the church in Richmond where I married my second wide for the second time, since apparently, the first time didn't really count. Confused? Me too.

The cacciatore is something I've been thinking about lately, must do it...sans pineapple.

neil said...

Oh dear, I just called my wife a wide. That's not cricket.

kitchen hand said...

Anne, one of my older two children used to have an issue with beetroot (I forget which one, isn't that dreadful?) and I used to have to hold the beetroot when making my foot-high burgers for them until the last minute when I would slip a slice into the relevant child's burger.

But Neil, where did you marry her the first time? St Ignatius, the Church, is a magnificent part of the landscape. The winery I have yet to check out - been meaning to visit Avoca for some time. A friend brings some amazing wines from there and you sure won't find them in Dan Murphy's. (Blame the keyboard. Who put 'd' next to 'f' anyway?)

neil said...

At the lovely Registry Office in Melbourne, when it was at the Royal Mint site. Then in a Catholic moment, my first wife had our original marriage anulled, which then lead to a second church wedding, which then allowed my second wife to have communion again. God may move in mysterious ways, but He does have some stupid rules.

If you go to Avoca, I would recommend a stay at Avoca Cottages, we go a couple of times a year, your boys will love it and there is plenty of scope for runners, with the choice of flat or hills.

kitchen hand said...

I don't get that annulment rule, Neil. It's like a get-out-of-jail card for people who aren't supposed to admit their marriage screwed up (present company excepted, of course). No annulment for me first time round so the second wedding took place in the Brunswick Town Hall (a grand venue by the way.)

I'll check out Avoca Cottages - itching to get away right now.