Many of you are experiencing extreme cold – we’ve had surprisingly warm weather for the season, which seems strange and almost wrong. I watch the news on occasion – the national broadcaster talks about the polar freeze throughout much of the US, and then the local broadcaster comes on to talk about the unseasonably warm weather and drought crisis here in Northern California. Regardless, I’ve got my wood stove fired up so that the house is no cooler than 75 degrees at all times – I don’t do well when I’m cold.
The season calls for hearty, warm comfort food whether the sun is shining or not. I make a delicious chicken cacciatore – it’s true. It’s relatively quick to make and it feeds the soul. I’m not Italian and I really have no idea what a traditional chicken cacciatore tastes like – I’ve adapted it over the years and it is perfection. If you love a rich tomato broth, Italian herbs, and moist chicken, you should give this hearty recipe a try! I love that it uses only ingredients that I always, always have on hand and there’s usually leftovers!
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can substitute any cuts of chicken that you like)
1/3 C. olive oil
2 Tbs. dried oregano
2 Tbs. dried basil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 C. sherry/cooking wine (optional)
2 – 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth (29 oz. total)
2-3 cans of diced tomatoes (29-43.5 oz. total)
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Cut in half and add to the heated oil in the stock pot (be careful of the hot oil splattering). Cook over med-high heat until well browned on each side. Add basil, oregano, and crushed garlic (shake evenly over chicken pieces). Brown for 1-2 min. longer, turning chicken in pan to coat evenly with herbs (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add sherry and simmer for 2 minutes longer, if using. Add tomatoes and chicken broth at once, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 20-45 minutes. Serve over rice (we love Basmati rice, but in the name of eating healthier, we tried it with brown rice this time and it was extra hearty and delicious!) Serves 6 people. This recipe also freezes well (sometimes I make a huge batch and then freeze it up for quick dinners later).
I’ve heaped the chicken and tomatoes on a huge mound of rice here, but the way I really like to eat it is with just a little rice and a whole lot of tomatoes and juicy broth. When I’m limiting carbs, I even eat it without any rice. Carbs or not, this chicken cacciatore is really the perfect comfort food. It’s in my top three favorites along with homemade mac ‘n’ cheese and my mom’s meatloaf…. and pot roast…okay, lots of comfort foods that I love, but this one makes it into the top three on my husband’s list, too.
What are your favorite comfort foods for the cold weather? Stay warm, friends!