Chicken Cacciatore

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This version of the hunter style chicken will surely satisfy you soul on a cold winter’s day! Instead of the traditional bell peppers, carrots, fennel and celery were added to give this dish a another taste and also a twist of lemon at the end of cooking, makes it special too. For a heartier fare, serve this main course dish over polenta, pasta or mashed potatoes.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
8 Chicken Drumsticks*
8 Chicken Thighs*
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch celery, sliced, leaves reserved
2 carrots, sliced*
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced*
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons roasted garlic
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine (or water)
One 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 º F.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the olive oil, heating until the oil is shimmering. Add the chicken and cook, turning once until well browned on both side, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Add celery, carrots, fennel, onion and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook vegetables over high heat until the caramelize, stirring to prevent sticking. Add tomato paste and sauce and saute the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and using a wooden spoons, scrape the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pot.

Add the tomatoes, thyme, parsley and stock to the pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pot, cover and place it in the oven, in the center of the rack.

Bake until the chicken is tender as it falls away from the bones, 45 to 60 minutes.

To serve, remove the thyme and parsley and discard. Toss the celery leaves with the lemon juice. Divide the stew evenly among warmed wide shallow bowls and top with celery leaves. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:
*Some substitutions can be made with this dish to suit your needs and what may be in the pantry or on hand in your kitchen.

Six to seven chicken quarters can be used instead of separated legs and thighs, which would be more economical and budget friendly.

Instead of fennel, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds serves as a great replacement.

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Lobster Tortellini in Anise Broth

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All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Lemon Pepper Shrimp

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This is my version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Lemon Pepper Shrimp. Basically, the dish is a   wok-crisped shrimp stir-fried with celery, bean sprouts, scallions and fresh lemon slices in an aromatic black pepper sauce.

Chefs at P. F. Chang’s  cook most dishes in heavy woks over extremely high heat with sparks flying and flames nipping at their noses. The special stove is designed so that the tall fires work at the back end of the wok, away from the chef. The well-ventilated stove is built with a steady stream of running water nearby to thin sauces and rinse the woks after each dish is prepared. Like most home cooks, I don’t have one of those super efficient  professional stoves at home. So the challenge for me was to tweak this recipe for standard kitchen equipment. Using a regular electric range  and  a large cast iron skillet, I was able to recreate  the dish  in my kitchen.

Another thing to consider is that the sauce is key to this  dish.  The kitchen  staff and line  cooks move extremely fast back in those P.F. Chang’s kitchens. The chefs are well-trained, but they eyeball measurements for sauces with a ladle, so each wok-prepared dish is going to come out a little different each and every time it is made.  Just like home cooking, the and measurements at the restaurant aren’t exactly scientific.

With all that being said,the shrimp is lightly breaded in cornsatarch and flash fried in oil. For best results, strain the shrimp out of the oil, add it back to the pan with the sauce, and you’ve got yourself pretty good dish just as  tasty  as the original!

Serves 2

Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

For the Shrimp:
1 pound medium raw shrimp (31/40 count), shelled and deveined
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
4-6 thin lemon slices, each cut into quarters
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 large green onions, sliced  diagonally
2 celery stalks, sliced  diagonally
1 cup bean sprouts

Directions:
Make sauce by heating 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and ginger in the hot oil for about 15 seconds being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the soy sauce, then dissolve cornstarch in the water and add the mixture to the pan. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and black pepper and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for two minutes then remove it from the heat.

Coat all the shrimp generously with cornstarch. Let the shrimp sit for about five minutes so that the cornstarch will adhere better.

Heat a cup of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp starts to turn light brown. Strain the shrimp out of the oil with a slotted spoon or spider and discard the  oil. Replace shrimp back in the wok along with the lemon slices, saute for a minute, then add the sauce to the pan. Toss everything around to coat the shrimp thoroughly. Cook for another minute or so until the sauce thickens on the shrimp.

As the shrimp cooks, heat up 1 teaspoon of oil in a separate medium saucepan. Cut the green part of the scallions into 3-inch lengths. Add the scallions, celery and bean sprouts to hot oil along with a dash of salt and pepper. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until  the scallions begin to soften.

Remove from the heat and build the dish by adding the stir fried vegetables to a serving plate. Add the shrimp over the vegetables, garnish with scallions and serve.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor