The majority of my gift-giving is in the form of meals over the holiday season. Our friends and family are fortunate enough to have pretty well every gadget they could ever need, so a cozy and delicious home-cooked meal is a gift that is always appreciated. While big and fussy dinner parties can be fun, intimate and casual gatherings are usually more relaxing for both myself and my guests.
Cacciatore is Italian for hunter, and this is a rustic chicken dish that features chicken braised in a tomato broth with various seasonal vegetables. In this simple version from chicken.ca, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are braised in a combination of tomato and chicken broth with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and spinach.
Chicken Cacciatore – Adapted from chicken.ca
- 9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion(s), medium, diced
- 1 zucchini, green, small, diced
- 1 zucchini, yellow, small, diced (optional, I just used 2 green)
- 1 red pepper(s), seeded, chopped (I used jarred roasted red peppers because I had them)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) baby spinach, sliced (I didn’t slice, I’m lazy)
- 10 mushrooms, sliced
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) flour, in a bowl (I put it in a bag and shook the chicken in it… again, laziness)
- 2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
- 1 tsp (5 mL) pepper, freshly ground
Heat the oil in a deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Dredge the chicken in the flour and season with a bit of the salt and pepper. Brown in the hot oil, you may want to do this in batches, so they brown and not sweat. Once the chicken is golden, remove it to a plate. Saute all the vegetables except the spinach until they are just slightly starting to brown. Add in the herbs, remaining salt and pepper, tomato paste and broth, stirring to combine. Add in the chicken thighs and top with the baby spinach. Bring to a simmer and then cover, simmering for 45 minutes. During the last five minutes I removed the cover, increased the heat and allowed the sauce to reduce a bit… this of course is your preference. I served my Chicken Cacciatore on top of steamed brown rice, but you could also serve over pasta or simply with some awesomely crusty bread.
When it comes to holiday entertaining, or any entertaining for that matter, the most important thing is to make your guests feel comfortable. Being organized before the meal helps you to do this the most. If you have the majority of the prep work and cleaning done before anyone shows up, you will be less stressed and have more time to relax and have fun with your guests. This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is perfect as it tastes even better reheated, so you can make it earlier in the day.
Storage is a big issue for us, we have very little of it. Because of that I try not to have many items that only serve one function or one holiday. This red cake stand can be used for cakes or as a centrepiece throughout the year. These three white battery LED candles were made more festive tied with a red twine bow. I bought a bunch of pine boughs (again, laziness… I probably should have went for a walk) and used some to complete the look and then I put the remainders in a large vase on the mantle.
A simple yet sparkly gold tablecloth and silver napkins complete the table and again, can be used all year round with different accessories (and totally match my Christmas tree this year). Tying the utensils up with a twine bow and a sprig of pine brought the look all together without breaking the bank or being too fussy. Another way to decorate while still being functional is to use beautiful cookware, ovenware and bakeware like that of Emile Henry (hint, hint Santa).
All of us participating in the #CozyChicken campaign through the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) are hosting a group giveaway that will see one of our Canadian readers walking away with a $100 VISA gift card, an Emile Henry set and some sweet CFC swag.
You can get social with the Chicken Farmers of Canada at any time via the following platforms: