Casa del Picky Eaters

Pollo alla Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken)

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks at the Casa del Picky Eaters. First, my birthday coincided with a visit from B’s Auntie and Fred, Auntie’s partner, who have lived in New Zealand for over thirty years and come back to to the UK for an annual grand tour of the rellies. We had various meals out with family on both sides over the course of four days, including the brilliant Guinea Pig night at Piazza by Anthony, and an especially raucous Cantonese banquet in South Milford, and then B and I drove up to Edinburgh for a brilliant long weekend at the Fringe, where we squeezed in 15 comedy shows and one play over another four days. There was barely time to have our sides stitched back together before we found ourselves both thrown back into a chaotic but mercifully short week at work.

The price of taking time off, of course, is that you have to fit the same amount of work into fewer days and that meant me not getting home until after 8pm and B barely making it through the door before 10. Suppers in these circumstances have to be simple and speedy to prepare, and not ruined by microwave reheating; there was a lamb and date tagine from the freezer, red thai curry from a kit, and Chicken Cacciatore. Everyone in the world has their own variation on this dish, and some feel more traditional than others, but in essence it’s chicken and tomato stew. Here’s my no-time-to-cook version.

Crushed garlic
Finely chopped onion
Diced chicken breast
Dried oregano
Tomato paste
Chopped tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar
Mushrooms, torn up or cut into fat slices
Salt and pepper
Soften the onion and garlic in olive oil, and then turn up the heat slightly, add the chicken, and stir until the meat is sealed. Stir in the oregano, tomato paste and tomatoes. Turn up the heat a little more until the sauce is bubbling and then turn down to a simmer. Add just a tiny dash of balsamic vinegar and then mix in the mushrooms – I used baby portobellos on this occasion. If you put a pan of salted water on for your (gluten free) pasta when you started cooking, throw the pasta in at this point and by the time it’s cooked your chicken is ready to eat. Don’t forget to season the sauce. I did also intend to add some fresh basil at the end of cooking but in my rush to eat, it slipped my mind, and the meal didn’t suffer for it.
Green vegetables are delicious and important, too, so I added a side dish of spring greens, liberally doused in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. It’s really a barbecue thing, so I guess that makes this a fusion dinner!
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