There are few meals that really remind me of my childhood. My mom cooked almost every night, but she was always making different things. Of course, she had a few standbys. Cajun jumbalaya showed up often for some reason. She’d make it in this free standing electric fry pan and always left some smoked sausage out of the spicy sauce for my brother and I. Then there was shrimp creole (I’m just realizing how exotic my Italian and Polish kitchen was growing up!) which I absolutely hated. And then, my absolute favorite, broccoli and chicken served over puff pastry rounds. But, other than that, dinners were a hodgepodge of whatever my mom felt like cooking that night.
There is one meal, though, that will always remind me of my childhood and it is my grandma’s chicken cacciatore. It’s about as Italian as you can get in a meal, and it was one of my favorites growing up. Every Wednesday, when we would go to my grandparent’s house, I’d ask my mom , “What’s Grandma making for dinner?” I loved everything she made – except for chili – but I especially loved her chicken cacciatore. The meat was always tender and simmered in what we called “sarce” made out of tomatoes from their garden. But my absolute favorite part was the black olives she put in the sauce. I was notorious for picking through the large pot and fishing out the olives.
As the days turn cooler, this is the perfect meal. It’s a nice filling meal that warms your stomach, and as an added bonus, your heart, too.
3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 can black olives
1 carrot, diced
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. In the remaining oil, add the carrots and cook until softened, around 5-8 minutes.
Return the chicken and their juices back to the pan. Add the white wine and cook until it has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and black olives. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2o minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and serve over pasta.
Source: Loosely adapted from Giada’s Everyday Italian