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

Updated on July 16, 2016
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Italy and its food is something that Tony treasures. His recipes are filled with passion and a love of food.


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! | Source

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 | Source
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 | Source

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

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