Creating a Life of Plenty

You Say Cacciatore, I say CacciatorA!!!!

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Americans may know this dish as cacciatore (hunter’s style), but it’s really cacciatora, named in the honor of the hunter’s wife – who, in parts of northern Italy, traditionally cooked it on the eve of the hunt as fuel for the chase.
You could also call this dish “Ken had a crazy September Schedule and couldn’t can his tomatoes so he came up with this instead”. The fact is that my September was insane…and August was no picnic either. Work was a bear, I started a graduate school program and I decided to take an 11 year overdue vacation! But the garden waits for no man, not even me; so I decided to freeze my tomatoes whole to be able to make sauce later. The freezing process is easy…don’t peel the tomatoes, just wash and core, pop them into freezer bags and get them into the freezer quickly! I happen to be fortunate and have a chest freezer…very conveinent!
Once you have a break and can do something with your tomatoes, just bring the freezer bags out and thaw either in the sink or in the refrigerator until they are completely thawed. I popped mine right into the slow cooker and put them on high for one hour. While I waited, I 1 large onion and a head of garlic (minced) in a separate pan. Once the onions and garlic are soft and completely cooked, I set them aside. After one hour, I pass the tomatoes through a food mill to separate the skin and seeds from the valuable juice and pulp of the tomatoes. The food mill attachment makes a nicer texture than ricing the tomatoes or using a food processor, plus the mill really does a nice job collecting the peels for the compost heap.
Return the sauce to the slow cooker, add the onions and garlic and allow to cook (covered for part of the time and uncovered for part of the time) for 6-8 hours.
While the sauce is cooking, sterilize and prepare your jars. Once ready, fill the jars allowing 1/2 inch head space, add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to the jars and pressure can (you cannot water bath can this sauce due to the extra ingredients). Quarts and pints are to be processed at 11lbs pressure for 15 minutes. Once passed, shut the heat off and allow the canner to depressurize before removing the lid, extract the jars and cover with a towl and allow to cool…the seals will pop as the product cools. Store in a cool dark place until ready to make your dish.
Chicken Cacciatora
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup dry white wine
1 quarts of canned Cacciatora sauce
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup rich chicken stock (see note below)
In a cast iron or enameled cast iron pot, add the olive oil, then add the chicken and fry, turning the pieces several times to brown evenly, about 4 minutes per side.

Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add the prepared sauce and parsley, reserving 1 tablespoon or so for garnish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, add the chicken stock gradually as the tomato juice evaporates, for 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and garnish with the reserved parsley. Serve with steamed potatoes or white rice.

Note: If you have to use canned chicken broth, supplement it with a little chicken stock base paste or a bouillon cube.

Happy Gardening!

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