chicken cacciatore: a grand restoration through a bit of poultry.

And I'm back. To the world of culinary delights. To the cheering of my friend's tastebuds. Rejoice, for I come to cook!
The weekend was delightful. And for food inspiration (and a meal that is large enough to feed me for several days), we headed over to Sophie's for a lovely breakfast. This local 'joint' in Kits is a mainstay of the yuppie community - it always has a line up outside. But it is worth it to lean on the giant cutlery sculptures outside while waiting (careful not to impale a limb on the giant fork) just to walk into the epitome of comfort - breakfast.
There was also a candy store quite nearby. Jacqui bought Chris some grills. This was such an important part of my day, how could I leave out a photo of it? For about ten minutes, we had some thug life in our apartment. For shizzle my nizzle.
But instead of cooking some ribs with Sweet Baby Rays, I decided to go Italian mobster-esque, considering we seemed to be doing stereotypes that day. A big skillet simmering with herbs, tomatoes and half a chicken - perfetto!  The chicken stays tender because of the copious tomato juice, and the herbs are given time to meld into the sauce. They balance into a perfect blend of flavor, without the time restrictions that would come from frying, baking, or cooking the chicken in other 'dry' ways. The sauce becomes a nice light addition to noodles, and doesn't need to be overly thick and goopy to compensate for dry chicken - overall, it feels like a light fresh meal, even though I consider the heavier dinners generally consist of pasta. The sun-dried tomatoes add this . . earthy quality. They were a staple in Italian cooking as they were used when fresh tomatoes were out of season - they used to be dried on the tile roofs of houses. I found some in the grocery store - didn't want to go too earthy.
And after dinner - jazz! Though we missed the shows, it was still pretty neat to see Gastown dressed in the trappings from the events. Maybe I should have made jambalaya to commemorate the start to such a neat festival.
Mobster Chicken - Pseudo Chicken Cacciatore

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. grapeseed oil (or any other oil that does well on high temps - sorry peeps, olive oil doesn't cut it)
1 1/2 chicken, bone-in
1 large can diced tomatoes, juice and tomatoes separated
1 tbs. powdered chicken stock
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tbs. sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed), minced and drained of oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
Cooked pasta (I'm not going to explain this one, I'm guessing that everyone who has gone through university has had many interactions with K to the D)

1. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) on med. Add oil, onion, and garlic. Fry until the onions start to brown and caramalize. De-glaze the skillet with the juice from the canned tomatoes.

2. Add the 1/2 chicken. Add all the dried herbs and spices, as well as the sun-dried tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 3. Add the rest of the tomatoes. Simmer for 10-20 minutes. Occasionally flip the chicken and stir.

3.Cook the pasta. At the same time you add the spaghetti to the boiling water, add the vegetables to the chicken and sauce. If your timing is perfect, the pasta will turn out al dente when the veggies are perfectly cooked and not soggy whatsoever.

4. Serve to friends. Send up a good prayer. Enjoy.