Chicken Cacciatore with Herbed Polenta

12 Aug

Print the recipe page!  chicken cacciatore with herbed polenta

This show stopping recipe is shared with permission from Karen at www.kneadfulthingsnow.com.  Love it!!

Serves 8

Prep Time: active prep time 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken Cacciatore

3 cans canned chicken or 1 quart home canned chicken thighs (see note)

1 to 2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

3/4 cup flour

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup freeze dried green pepper

4 TBS dried onion

2 (4.5 oz) jars canned whole mushrooms

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 cup chicken broth

1 TBS White Wine Vinegar

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Herbed Polenta

6 cups water

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 TBS sugar

2 cups corn meal — or — 1 1/2 cups popcorn freshly ground (see note)

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. rosemary

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup canned butter (see note)

Instructions:

Herbed Polenta

Polenta is easy to make, but you don’t want to rush it. You want to allow it plenty of time to hydrate so that the cornmeal can soften.

To make Polenta place 6 cups of water in a large sauce pan along with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tablespoon Sugar. Heat to a low simmer only. Boiling water is too hot and will cook the polenta too fast. Gradually add 2 cups corn meal whisking briskly to avoid lumps. Keep the heat on low to medium low. Add the herbs, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sweet basil, and1/2 tsp rosemary and continue to cook. You want the cornmeal to cook very slowly to allow the corn flour to fully hydrate and really soften. The more time you allow it, the softer it will be. It should take 30 to 40 minutes, but the time is worth it.  Whisk the polenta almost continously as is cooks. It is okay to walk away from it for a minute here or there but stay close.  When you have given the polenta at least 30 minutes to cook stir in the grated parmesan and butter. Pour the hot mix into an oiled loaf pan. Set the polenta aside, cover it with foil or plastic wrap and allow it to cool completely.

To serve this dish cut the polenta into six- eight equal portions. Fry the polenta in butter or olive oil. Serve with cacciatore poured over the top, parmesan cheese and a parsley garnish.

             

Chicken Cacciatore

Rehydrate onions and green peppers using the jarred liquid from the mushrooms and set aside.  Open can of tomatoes and remove a small amount of juice ( 1/2 cup or so) from the tomatoes and mix with flour, salt and pepper to use as a thickener for the cacciatore.  Set aside.  Carefully remove home canned chicken thighs to brown in a saucepan.  After browning, carefully remove the chicken thighs to a plate.  Add olive oil and crushed red pepper and brown for about a minute.  Add 1 cup chicken broth and 1 TBS white wine vinegar to deglaze the pan where chicken had browned, scraping up all the bits and pieces left behind.  In a separate saucepan saute drained onions and green peppers until the onions brown.  Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat.  Pour deglazed pan of chicken broth mixture into the pan of sauted vegetables and add can of tomatoes.  Add thickening mixture to the pot and add garlic, oregano and thyme.  Stir and carefully replace chicken to the pot and covering the chicken with cacciatore sauce.  Heat pot with the lid on for 5 – 10 minutes just so that the lid is hot before putting into wonder oven.  Dish can also be cooked in a sun oven or crockpot.  Cook long enough so that the flavors have a chance to cook and sauce thickens.

                 

               

             

Carefully adding the home canned chicken thighs into the sauce.

At this point, add canned chicken if that’s what you’re using.

If cooking in a wonder oven be sure to cook 5 – 10 minutes with lid on so that the lid is hot before putting it into the Wonder Oven.

Quickly put pot into Wonder Oven, cover with pillow and lid.

If only you could drop by the house and taste how amazing this is!  Seriously delicious. Stop whatever you’re doing right now and go get the ingredients  to make it — food storage or not — you’ll be glad you did.

Mmmmm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes:

  • I’ve written up the instructions here based on making it up as a completely shelf stable long term recipe.  You can click the above link to Karen’s website to find the instructions you would use if you were to make it using fresh ingredients (including things like frozen chicken thighs and frozen green peppers) for a 3 month plan recipe.
  • Originally today I was going to try making the polenta with butter powder rather than real canned butter just to see if I could get a good result.  That’s why you see my can of butter powder in the initial ingredients picture.  Once I got to the point of using it though I just couldn’t bring myself to possibly screw up a wonderful batch of polenta.  I guess I’ll just have to find a second job to pay for my canned butter — in this recipe I have to have it.
  • My dilemma since finding this recipe has been to decide whether it was worth the extra work of canning my own chicken thighs versus using canned chicken.  A friend I met here in Houston, Cheryl Driggs, was kind enough to give me a pint of chicken thighs that she herself had canned (this woman has canned every type of meat you can imagine) so I was very excited to finally get to try it out.  I admit the jar itself looked a little bit like a science experiment at first glance but after tasting it I do think I’m going to learn how.  It was so nice to have the browned meat’s bits and pieces to add to the broth and also to have that wonderful “fall off the bones” meat texture rather than the “shredded chicken” texture that is so common in food storage recipes!  Cheryl tells me that the University of Georgia offers free online classes you can sign up for to learn how to safely can meats.  I’m game!  I’ll definitely be getting back to you about that as I look into it. Here is what it looked like before using it in the recipe:

  • One more thing:  a wonderful tip that I learned from my friend Sherida is to grind your popcorn when you need corn meal in a recipe.  Although it takes some extra time and work it’s so worth it in the end.  I do have cornmeal stored for when I might not have time to grind my own, but in this recipe today I did grind it.  Here’s how you do it:

#1– grind your popcorn.  Again, I use my Vitamix to do this but I could use my hand grinder too if I wanted to.  I think you might need a pretty tough blender to do this — be sure yours is up to it beforehand.

#2 — sift through a fine meshed strainer.

You’re left with the best tasting corn meal ever.

In my book this recipe is used as a:

*Long Term Recipe

*3 month meal

2 Responses to “Chicken Cacciatore with Herbed Polenta”

  1. PlicketyCat September 22, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    If you want to save your aching arm a little, you can also grind dried yellow dent corn (a.k.a. “feed corn”) instead of popcorn to make excellent corn meal. And save those crunchy bits after sifting, they make a wonderful hot corn porridge or a little “non-stick” for the bottom of homemade bread loaves.

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