Monday, February 1, 2016

Chicken Cacciatora in Bianco (White wine version), Hunters style chicken version 2

I have seen many versions, all through Italy of Chicken Alla Cacciatora.   "Alla Cacciatora" refers to Hunter's style chicken.  Men would go out with their dogs and rifle's, hunting birds and such..  Many would come back to a delicious meal, normally of freshly killed chicken, that was cleaned and prepared the night before.  What makes this so unique, is the addition of the vinegary capers. They give this dish a very nice finish.   Unlike Pollo alla pepperoni, chicken with baby peppers,  that uses chicken thighs or breasts, this version, uses a whole chicken, cut up into pieces.  This version, also calls for passing the chicken pieces in flour.   The dredging in flour, gives this sauce a delicious thickness. Homegrown chickens, raised in the backyard, is not as fatty as the store bought, American versions.  They are not laced with antibiotics and colorants.   You will want to have extra bread on hand to help clean your plate.  It's all delicious to me.  Buon Appetito.
This version is without tomato. Although one can add tomato to this dish if you like.  That is another version. 
Ingredients (4 people)
One 4-5 pound chicken, cup up into pieces.  Leave some of the fat on the chicken
2-3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
Flour (about 1 cup), for dredging
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 cup of white wine (for deglazing the pan)
 One tablespoon olive oil 
4-5 colorful pepper (medium), cut into slices. If you are using a jarred variety, be sure and drain them first.  Then slice them into thin slices. 
2-3 cloves of garlic (smashed, to be removed later if you like)
One large pan to accommodate your ingredients in a flat fashion.  
A lid for your pan
Salt and pepper your chicken pieces and dredge in flour.
Heat your vegetable oil in the pan.  
Brown your chicken on all sides.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  De glaze the pan with wine.  Let it reduce until all of your tiny pieces come off the bottom of the pan when scraped with a spoon. 
Let the liquid reduce until there is almost nothing left in the pan but about 1/4 cup.   Drain the liquid over the chicken and set aside.
Do not wash your pan!!!!
Place your tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and heat to medium.   Add your garlic and peppers, slivered, all at once.   Place a lid on the pan and keep for about 3 minutes or so.   You will notice your vegetables will be softening and your peppers and garlic, fragrant.   At this point, return your chicken, all of it's liquid to the pan.   Keep a watchful eye on it.  You don't want it to turn dry.  Lower the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes.  Your liquid should thicken, but not stick.  If your chicken is sticking, your heat is to high.  Add a little water to the pan and turn your chicken over to coat.  When your chicken is almost done, place 2 tablespoon of capers into the pan.   Be sure to give the capers a rinse first under fresh water.  Salted capers or capers that are two vinegary can also over power this dish.  
Pour everything into a serving dish and serve with plenty of crusty bread.    A light, Pinot Noir is the perfect wine pairing for this dish.  
Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Limoncello (Organic, Italian Lemon Liquor)

It's my most talked about recipe on the blog.  Make some today.  Buona Domenica.

Step 1
8-10 Organic Lemons.   Organic lemons tend to have thick skin with lots of oils.  Clean and dry your lemons.  In a bowl peel the skins away. Save your lemons for juice for another recipe.  You can extract the juice and freeze. You will not need any juice for this recipe. All the flavor comes from the peels.    Set aside your bowl of peelings.
1 large clean and sanitized mason jar (one liter size)
1 liter of Everclear or 100 proof vodka.  Everclear works best.  However due to laws in various states, the product isn't always available.  Do not be afraid of alcohol content as your end result will be diluted and your proof will drop considerably.
Place your lemon peels in a mason jar. Pour you everclear into your jar and close the lid tightly so no air can get in.
Place your jar in a cool/ dry place for approx 7 days.  By the end of your 7 days your jar may look a bit cloudy.  Your peels will look almost freeze dried.. Do not worry as this is a normal process of the oils being extracted from your peels.
Step 2
2 cups sugar
1 liter of spring water
On your stovetop prepare your sugar syrup.  Whisking gently combine until your sugar is dissolved and your water is clear.  Set aside to cool for one hour.
Step 3
 Add your sugar syrup to your mason jar with your peels.   Let sit 5 more days.
 Step 4
One large bowl covered with a strainer
For this process, you wlil need to strain your lemon liquid into your bowl.     This will ensure any debris that has been extracted from your lemon peels doesn't end up in your limoncello.
 Carefully pour your Limoncello into your bottle with tight  fitting lid.  At this point if you have used 100 proof vodka, you must refrigerate.  The product can no be kept in the freezer.  Your addition of sugar syrup will reduce your alcohol content.
If you have used Everclear, you may place in the freezer since your end result is above 85 proof.   Which ever way, keep cool before serving.
Pour into  chilled shot glasses~ garnish with lemon mint.