Cooking has been a part of my life for a very long time. As a child, I loved helping my mother and grandmother make dinner. When I became a teenager, I enjoyed the satisfaction of making meals for my family before my mother arrived home from work. My love of cooking carried over to adulthood where I now cook meals most nights of the week. Even though my family has a busy life, I still feel the need to cook dinner even if it is eaten on the run. I also think it is important that our family sits down to dinner together whenever we can. A simple chicken cacciatore recipe is perfect comfort food to get the whole family together around the table.
My family heritage is Italian and Croatian. My dad was born on an island in Croatia and the food that he grew up with was not exactly the same as what children in the United States eat. He liked to incorporate some of his traditions into our family meals. You might not believe some of the food I tried during my childhood. I was no stranger to every specimen of seafood including octopus. It was not unusual for organ meats and wild greens that most people never heard of to be on our dinner table. TV dinners were never on the menu.
Even though I didn’t enjoy all the delicacies as much as my dad did, I learned to appreciate food from other cultures. Some of my fondest Sunday memories were going to a local chicken coop with my family after church. My father would pick out a fresh rooster. The store would kill it, clean it and then we would take it home to cook. My mother would cook the rooster in red gravy and it was served with homemade pasta or risotto on the side. Pasta was hand made by my father’s aunts. They would make huge batches for everyone. If you stopped at their house on the day they were making it, you would see a kitchen table covered with flour and rows of pasta drying on the table. If you’ve never had sauce made with rooster, you are missing out. I remember it being the most flavorful red sauce there is.
Fast forward to today and my children are not the most adventurous eaters. So I toned down the recipe to fit my family’s food tastes. I use chicken instead of rooster as I would not know where to buy a rooster. This simple chicken cacciatore recipe is a favorite in my meal rotation. It is versatile in the fact that it can be served with rice, pasta, polenta or crusty bread. It is easy to make and my children can help cut up the vegetables and stir the pot. It is also the perfect dish to serve when we are having company. It can be made in advance so that I have more time to spend with my family and guests. It is the type of comfort food I will make any time of the year.
Included in this dish are several McCormick spices. I have used McCormick spices for years just as my mother and grandmother did. I remember the original red, white and blue containers always popping out of my mom’s cabinets. They have been around much longer then I have been cooking and I don’t know what it’s like to cook without them. Back in August we had our kitchen renovated. One of my favorite things about the renovation is my new spice rack drawer. It holds a great number of spice jars and now I can fit all my McCormick spices in there.
So this is my American Homemade story. I’m working with McCormick.com and their American Homemade program to share my love of homemade food and one of my favorite family recipes. I would love for you to share your stories, too. What’s your family’s favorite recipe to make and eat together?
Take a look at the McCormick website and their new Flavorprint tool. I created a profile to help me find new recipes I love based on my taste preferences. The more I use it, the more familiar it becomes with my palate. Sign up today and you can discover new recipes based on flavor combinations you love.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 Pieces of chicken, skin removed
- 2 Medium sized carrots, cleaned and chopped
- 1 Large shallot, peeled and diced
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 16 Ounces white mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 Cup chicken stock
- 1 (28 ounce) Can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Handful parsley (chopped), plus extra for garnish
- 2 Teaspoons McCormick dried basil
- 1 teaspoon McCormick dried oregano
- ½ Teaspoon McCormick crushed red pepper
- McCormick Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to medium high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
- Add the carrots, shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock to deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano and red pepper.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cover. Simmer on low for another 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and tender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice, pasta or crusty bread.
****For full disclosure, this post was sponsored by McCormick and their American Homemade Program. As usual, all opinions are my own.