Yeah, ain't that a whole lotta ugly? If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Me, red sauce and the camera just aren't friends. While she won't win any beauty contests, this baby was gooood. How timely, after my previous post, that this recipe for Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms, more commonly known as cacciatore, comes from Martha.
This is the first thing that I've made from Martha, the first thing I've wanted to make, to be more specific. Her recipes have always seemed too difficult technique wise or contained some impossibly rare ingredient. This seemed so simple, I thought it might be too good to be true. Maybe she's got some real people working for her in the kitchen instead of the Stepford automatons I think she had creating her recipes in the past.
The chicken was so juicy and tender, but not so tender that it was falling apart. The mushrooms soaked up the juices and were even more delicious than a plain old sauteed button mushroom. (Which happen to be top drawer in my book.) I think I enjoyed this more than anyone else in the house, because I could not shut up about how delicious I thought this meal was. It's not that Mrblocko and Blockette didn't like it, I was just very vocal about my taste bud's reactions. Perhaps it was because I had low expectations? Who cares. A good meal is a good meal is a good meal.
I think my substitutions were what made this meal fantastic. I don't really care for stewed tomatoes, so there weren't any in the pantry. I did have several cans of diced tomatoes, and why go out and buy stewed tomatoes when you've got plenty of something so similar. I noticed that one of the cans of diced tomatoes had basil, garlic and oregano already in it. That was pretty similar to the flavors that the recipe called for so it seemed like a no brainer. We love garlic so I added the 2 cloves of garlic stated in the recipe, but didn't add the dried oregano. I don't know if diced tomatoes contain less juice than the stewed variety, or if the meat and mushrooms just soaked up a lot. As this was cooking, Mrblocko and I thought this dish could use more sauce, so I added a splash of chicken stock.
Mrblocko and I thought there should be more mushrooms and Mrblocko thought there should be more tomatoes. Next time I'll double both, and add more chicken stock. The sauce was so good over rice, we pigged out. Consequently, the sauce was a tad on the stingy side for the leftovers. With two cans of tomatoes, I think this recipe requires at least a cup of stock, if not two to meet our sauce requirements.
The comment section for Martha's recipe has several suggestions for additions including: wine, peppers, and zucchini. I'm not a fan of peppers so I don't think I'd try that version, but the wine and zucchini sounds tasty to me. I bet with more veggies and liquid this would be a great stew for a cold winter day. Add ins aside, I can't wait to try this recipe with fire roasted diced tomatoes, or the diced tomatoes that come in balsamic vinegar.
Hey mom, didja ever think I'd be so enthusiastic about cooking with tomatoes? When you come to visit and I catch you lookin in the closets, I'll know you are searching for the pods.
Chicken Cacciatore from Martha Stewart
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 pounds
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large (5-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over med-high ; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook chicken, turning when it easily releases from pan, til golden, 4-6 min. Transfer to a plate.
Add mushrooms; cover, and cook til softened, 5 min. Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Reduce heat to med-low; cook, covered, til tomatoes have broken down, 10-15 min. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; cover, and cook til chicken is opaque throughout, 4-6 min. Turn chicken to coat with sauce, and serve.