How to make Italian style ‘Chicken Cacciatore’ Chicken in Brandy.

Traditional Chicken in brandy


Hi, thanks for joining another of my cooking sessions. Come in and join me; pull up a chair and enjoy yourself.

You probably know my friend Fabio by now; well he was due to come over to cook something with a huge chicken I’d bought. Most weeks we have a cook night, it’s great fun and we exchange not just recipes, but family and life experiences. Fabio was born in Tuscany in northern Italy, whereas, I was born in Bradford Yorkshire two more different places I don’t think you will ever find. In the early sixties we used to get black snow, because there was so much soot in the air from the hundreds of textile mills and before the clean air act, whereas Fabio had sunshine all the way; well pretty much.

This bird definately got it's share of the corn!
This bird definately got it's share of the corn!

Chicken in Brandy sauce


Enough waffle back to the cooking. A lovely and gracious commentator on hub pages named Stessily, had read my hub using calvados, apple brandy on apple tart, and thought it might be good to use it with meat. This got my old grey cells buzzing and instantly, like a flash of inspiration I headed for the kitchen to make notes; so the ‘Chicken Cacciatore’ is not quite traditional, but Fabio agreed that it would be worth trying. Let’s face it how can adding brandy spoil anything, this is me talking a good Wesleyan Methodist.

fresh herbs, what a lovely smell
fresh herbs, what a lovely smell
smoked garlic, the smell is so delicious
smoked garlic, the smell is so delicious

Fresh Garden Herbs


Before I start cooking I like to get everything prepared and into separate bowls just ready to add. That way you can go through all the ingredients and make sure, that you have everything.

I cut some herbs from the garden, it’s been a mild autumn [fall] and so lots of my herbs are still okay although frosts are forecast for this week, they could end them for this year.I also bought some from the market, just to make sure I had enough.

Chopped Herbs.


Basil, rosemary, mint, coriander, and some parsley were all chopped up and put aside.

I had five cloves of garlic , which I crushed and chopped and into a little bowl. I used smoked garlic, which is just heavenly; it fills the whole kitchen with a soft, smoky fragrance.

chicken ready for the flour dredge.
chicken ready for the flour dredge. | Source


Next we or rather I quartered the bird and Fabio who sometimes thinks his only job is to drink coffee skinned the portions. Getting the skin off, means that the seasoning gets right into the bird, but it also means fewer calories.

Pre heat your oven gm5


Make A Stock.

Here’s a useful tip; bone out the breasts removing the ribs, then cut off the parson’s nose and the lower part of the leg and boil them together in a pan, add a couple of cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of mixed spice; this gives me a really tasty fresh chicken stock to use later in the dish.

How to cook your chicken


Cook the chicken

Now mix some all-purpose flour with a little salt , and lemon zest to dredge the chicken pieces in making sure they all get a good coating of the flour.

Chop an onion and a stick of celery quite fine so that they just melt away in the cooking.

Dutch oven cooking


In your Dutch oven, or large pan melt two tablespoons of Ghee [clarified butter] and two tablespoons of olive oil . [I use a lot of ghee in my cooking, I think because it is heavily influenced by Indian cooking.]

Add your onions and celery and let them gently colour [color for those nations who can’t spell… just joking!!! ] add two dessertspoons of white wine vinegar, some lemon zest and mix in.

Add the Calvados brandy


When the onions have turned translucent, put the chicken pieces in and make sure that they are browned all over. You may need to cook them piece by piece to do them all properly.

Once all the chicken is browned, add the garlic and two tins of either chopped or whole tomatoes or passata which is tomatoes ready blended. Give it all a good stir and put your lid on for five minutes to get it boiling.

Add two dessertspoons of Calvados , a good pinch of salt and the same of white pepper.

Put it in the oven for about an hour.

A voice of pure gold


This gave Fabio and I time to listen to some opera which we both adore; I recently discovered, thanks to Fabio a tenor by the name of Giuseppe di Stefano, what a voice. I think one of the best I have ever heard; I’ve added the you tube of him to share his wonderful gift with you my friends.

I know I waffle on, I’m a real old gasbag, if you want just a recipe, then there are zillions out there on the internet there must be a trillion on hubs but I like to share things with you and I hope it will make it more entertaining for you.

Add your herbs.


Okay back to the kitchen which is now full of the most wonderful aromas. You may have thought that I had forgotten about the herbs, but no ‘I miei amici’ I like to add them near the end so that they are still adding their wonderful flavour right to the end. Put them in too soon and the taste is gone, so about ten to fifteen minutes before you finish cooking add and mix in you herbs, even with dried herbs they also can lose their flavour if added too early. Turn the chicken over too.

Rich and full of flavour
Rich and full of flavour


Give it a good stir; the flour dredge will have helped create a lovely rich sauce, it is important to rest the meal just a few minutes, so take it out of the oven and leave it to stand, this gives you time to set the table.

home made wholemeal bread
home made wholemeal bread

Home made bread


We ate ours with some fresh whole meal bread, the whole thing felt very rustic and although you might use pasta, rice, or potatoes I liked the idea of chunky slices of bread to soak up the wonderful tomato sauce with its mixture of flavours oozing out. Meravigliosa, la vita è buona .

Please leave a comment and I will be so pleased to hear from you.

tender and oosing flavour
tender and oosing flavour

Romance and adventure

Guilty of Honour
Guilty of Honour

Synopsis

Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.

Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.

A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.

Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.

When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.

 

More by this Author


20 comments

stessily 4 years ago

Tony, This is such an honor! I am deeply touched and truly appreciate your generosity of spirit and your inspiring creativity. I am glad that you were inspired to consider Calvados in a main dish and to follow the mental aroma to chicken. For you to create from a small suggestion is amazing.

This hub is perfect from beginning to end, and including Giuseppe di Stefano singing "O sole mio" is beyond perfection! I grew up on opera, and certain arias have weathered sunshine and shadow in my heart throughout my life. Giuseppe di Stefano shares with the late great Jussi Bjoerling my highest regard as equally brilliant in the role of my favorite operatic hero, Cavaradossi in "Tosca."

Your recipe is sheer genius, and when I have an opportunity to make it I shall duplicate exactly, including the meal bread. All the votes, Tony.

The biographical snippets are very entertaining, and I look forward to more reading pleasure of the camaraderie and cooking adventures of you and Fabbio.

Grazie, grazie mille!

Kind regards, Stessily


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Hi stessily

perhaps you are not the face that launched a thousand ships but at least you inspired a recipe, which is far closer to my heart. my altime favourite is Che gelida manina, i cry like a baby; the music the passion the pain oh, I have to be alone to watch the DVD.

regards Tony...have a good day.


stessily 4 years ago

Tony, one of my happiest achievements was converting a boyfriend, who was a heavy-duty rock devotee, to opera. When we went camping, I sometimes sang "Che gelida manina", which is one of my favorite arias, as shown by the fact that not only did I learn the lyrics but I also somehow actually sang it on key! Puccini was an absolute master at extracting complete, pure emotion from each and every note.

I am further honored by your comment that I'm the face that inspired a recipe --- a far greater honor for me than launching a thousand ships, even though sailing and the ocean are my passions.

Thank you!

Kind regards, Stessily of Pollo Nella Grappa


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Stessily

we sound to have much in common, I am truly impressed that you could sing the aria in key; no mean feat I must say. I am a great fan of all Puccini's works, which seams to dig into my old chest and find heart and soul.

you mention the sea, I love it, I worked for about seven years on cruise ships, not just at sea but on the great inland waterways of Europe and Russia.

regards Tony


stessily 4 years ago

Tony, I am an inconsistent singer, which means that most of the time I cannot carry a tune, but there are a few songs which miraculously I am able to sing perfectly. Thank you for the compliment about "Che gelida manina." Very true, it is "no mean feat", so I'm astounded that I learned it just like that.

It must have been very interesting indeed to be on the inland waterways of Europe and Russia. That seems like an incomparable adventure. Did you have to keep pinching yourself to believe that you were really being allowed to be paid for being there? Any possibility of writings or photos about those days?

Kind regards, Stessily


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

HI Stessily

Did you learn it in Italian? I don't know for you, but for me opera can only be in Italian; it just sounds right.

You are right about pinching myself, I loved every milli-second of it. I was aware of how lucky I was, you are right I should write about it, but I'm really lazy with my writing at the moment I seem to have very low batteries.

I'm recently finished a 100k+ book and I can't get motivated to get it published, the sequel is eight chapters 30k done and if I add a sentence a day I think I've done well.

kind regards

Tony


stessily 4 years ago

Tony, But, of course, I sing "Che gelida manina" in Italian! That aria was originally written in Italian so all the power of each word inheres in its Italian-ness. For me it is not the same in any other language.

Congratulations on completing a 100,000+ book! Such an accomplishment. And then continuing with a sequel --- bravo. May I ask what the book and its sequel are about? As for thinking that you've "done well" by adding "a sentence a day", you're not alone in that feeling. So many writers have mentioned that sometimes that was all that they could produce. But, as I always say, a book is written word by word and sentence by sentence. To paraphrase the Chinese proverb:

The journey to writing a book begins with that first word.

I look forward to your writing about that dream job on the waterways of Europe and Russia. Low batteries happen; even the Energizer bunny needs recharging.:-) You'll write it when creativity beckons that topic's place in the creative queue.

Kind regards, Stessily


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Tony, thanks for sharing another great and delicious recipe . Vote awesome !!!

Have a very awesome Christmas my friend !


rjsadowski profile image

rjsadowski 4 years ago

I love the way you comment on your cooking. It makes me feel like I am in the kitchen with you. I also like a cook who is confident enough to be able to experiment with traditional recipes. I enjoy opera from time to time and I have heard Giuseppe di Stefano before. You might also like Franco Corelli and Beniamino Gigli.


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

Hi Tony this is one of the best blog I have seen on cooking, simply because the way you have explained things before recipe. Wonderful. One question though Since you know Indian Cooking and you must be aware we do not get meat bread in India so can we have naan or tandoori roti with it?


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

hi Kashmir,

nice to chat again, I hope you try the recipe, it really is very tasty dish.

Happy New Year

cheers

hi rjsadowski,

many thanks for your kind comment, obviously I try to create that friendly atmosphere in my more recent writting. I hope you enjoy the recipe should you try it.

I have heard both the gentlemen you mention, Gigli was one of my Dad's favourites, so I am familiar with his voice; which was outstanding.

Happy New Year

cheers

Namaste Indian Chef

thank you for the kind comments, I hope you try this recipe. YOu can eat with anything, I have had wholemeal atta from our local Asian food shop. You can make naan bread which would also be delicious with this meal.

Happy New Year

cheers


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

Thanks Tony I would try this with naan or tandoori roti.


RASO profile image

RASO 4 years ago from Slovenia

I just voted UP and awesome for this excellent hub and I am so happy, that you named the hub to honour Stessily.

Cheers.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

HI Raso

thank you for coming by abd for your kind comments and the votes [not that I know what they do, but hey ho it is nice to be appreciated. I hope you try this recipe, you'll really enjoy I'm sure

happy new year


Derdriu 4 years ago

Tony, What a delectable, inviting, scrumptious treat can be found in Pollo nella grappa per la mia sorella Stessily!

In particular, I appreciate reading about the cultural details and the personal contexts which thrust you into the rewarding culinary domain of excellent experiences with Calvados.

As always, you do a great job of involving readers through your expert instructions and "pretty pictures."

Additionally, I welcome the companion items which you identify as harmonizing with your invention. Whole wheat bread will do it for me. But what's to drink?

Thank you for sharing, voted up + all.

Respectfully, Derdriu

P.S. What kind of coffee does Fabio drink?


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu

This dish was inspired through her comments about using the brandy with meat. It worked very well too.

I had not noticed that the video link was down. I have replaced it with an excellent clip.

Cider is ideal with chicken and has a rustic feel that goes well with this dish. Is it a popular drink over there?

We both like a Latte, neither of us takes milk in tea, but we like milky coffee.

regards

Tony

P.S. don't you like the "pretty pictures"?


Derdriu 4 years ago

Tony, Yes, cider is a popular drink, especially between Halloween and year end.

The pictures indeed are pretty, and the replacement clip is magnificent.

Respectfully, Derdriu


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu

most of our cider orchards are down south in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset that sort of area if you know it. Which is pronounced by the locals as Zumerzet.

Is it because of the harvest you drink it at Halloween?

many thanks for the reply.

regards Tony


Derdriu 4 years ago

Tony, Most likely cider-drinking around Halloween is because of the harvest, but I can't say for sure since the first decision to do so was made long, long before my time ;-]!

Respectfully, Derdriu


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu,

Well it must have been long ago, if it was before your time;] he, he hic.

We have one called Woodpecker which is a fairly low alcohol, slightly sweet beverage, and very popular.

regards Tony

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working