Thursday, February 28, 2008

La Pollo Loco Makes Pollo alla Cacciatora

Roughly translated from Spanish and Italian, that's: The Crazy Chicken Makes Chicken for the Hunter.

Better explain, huh?

So it seems that abandoning one's life to flit about the world hunting new adventures requires a bit of seeing-to before hopping a plane. So that's what I am (and have) been doing: seeing to. Of course, there's the usual: laundry, bills, stopping the mail, finding a Freeman House sitter. Then there's the unusual: putting a new fuse in one of the heaters so it doesn't burn the house down... cracking ice trays filled with homemade chicken stock so no one inadvertently uses them in iced tea... and calling the garden guy who delivers... (well, I call him "Manure Man" if that helps)... to ask him to please hold off dumping his spring delivery in the yard while I'm gone....

Yep. I'm running about like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. Only I think I'm an even crazier chicken.

I made it home late last night. Late, late, late. But I was hungry and wasn't tired and still needed to clean out the fridge. I put on comfy pajamas and padded to the kitchen and stood leaning on the refrigerator door thinking: bacon... tomato sauce... shredded chicken... half a bottle of white wine... I hate to throw this stuff out. Then I remembered that Chicken Cacciatora recipe of Nigella Lawson's, and Clean Out the Fridge Night soon became Make the Best Midnight Meal Ever Night.

Of course, those Italians and die hard Chicken Cacciatora lovers among you might be appalled by my Tex-ified, fridge cleaning version of this beloved dish. My apologies in advance; I don't usually keep fresh pancetta on hand, and my little town is a long way from Rome.

Pollo Loco's Pollo alla Cacciatora

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 slices bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce (I use V8, but don’t tell)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 can cannellini (or garbanzo) beans

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add bacon and onions and cook until bacon is no longer pink. Add garlic and stir the pot and think for a minute or so.

Slosh in white wine, tomatoes and tomato sauce, seasonings, and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Drop in chicken, cover, and continue cooking over medium heat for 15 minutes. Uncover and add can of beans, if desired. (Cannellini beans are an optional ingredient in this dish. I accidentally opened garbanzo beans last night and loved them here. Use them or don’t. Whatever.) Return to simmer and cook for 5 more minutes or until beans are heated through.

Eat straight from the pot or ladle up with hot rice or noodles. (I stir cooked brown rice directly into mine so it’s a one bowl dinner.) Leftovers, if you’re lucky enough to have any, are great reheated.

So I leave you with my re-discovered favorite winter dinner and hopes that we'll meet here after Istanbul with new stories and pictures and words. Until my return, be cozy. And happy. Be cozily happy. I'll see you soon. -Brin


Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Brin, your in my prayers for a safe trip and a speedy return! Enjoy yourself and can't wait to see and hear all about your Turkey trip! Hugs!

betty r said...

Some of the best meals are those "fridge clean out" ones, at our house we call them "must goes".
I chuckled about the chicken broth ice cubes and someone using those for tea...yech!
Have a really great trip, Brin..(okay and be the envy of us all) and be safe.
I pray for God's protection for you as you travel.

Anonymous said...

forget your cookbook i want a book on how to have a life like yours!!! how do you afford to be off work and afford trips around the world, THATS what I want to know!! you and freeman house will be in my prayers as you flit, connie

Beverly said...

So glad to see you do have your passport. I was involved in helping someone replace theirs last summer ... for enough money, it can be done quickly, more quickly than the five months they tell you it takes. We applied for the replacement on Monday with help from someone in Washington and had the replacement on Friday afternoon! Counting the flight re-booking fees, I think it was close to $600. It was definitely worth it to see the smile on the face of a beautiful teenager flying to the middle east to see her grandmother for the first time ever!

Beverly said...

I forgot to say "Bon Voyage" ... have a wonderful time. Safe travel.

Knitting Mania said...

Coming from an Italian myself...your 'La Pollo Loco alla Cacciatora" sounds yummy! I do this kind of cooking all the time, it's in my blood!

Have a wonderful trip, can't wait to see your photo's and read your stories..

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful trip to Turkey, Brin. In honor of your trip, why didn't you make "turkey cacciatora"?! That's what inquiring minds want to know. LOL! :o)

Have a great trip. May God hold you safely in His hand. Looking forward to hearing all about your fabulous trip!!

Anonymous said...

Bon Voyage, and please post LOTS of pictures from Istanbul!
Nita in SC

She sure is strange! said...

Have a great(but very safe) adventure Brin!!

Your meal sounds like something I make often, out of thin air sometimes. Those are the best meals and the mark of a true great cook, IMO.

Molly(in Longview)

Jenny said...

Brin, have a wonderful trip and enjoy your trip immensely!

Hugs from Virginia!

Adrienne said...

Bon Voyage! I hope you have a wonderful, safe and happy trip. We will miss you but can't wait to here about it and see your pictures. ~Adrienne~

Rebecca said...

And you be safe!

My brother is an American living in Greece. He gives tours for private groups of several European countries. Istanbul/Turkey was a first on his schedule this past January. He loved it. Have fun!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Enjoy the journey!

Kathi said...

Your refrigerator clean out sounds better than some of the meals I come up with! :) Have a safe and wonderful trip, I look forward to your pictures and stories.

Anonymous said...

Your recipe sounds GOOD! I think I'll try it this weekend.

Mayberry Magpie said...

Have a fabulous trip! We'll anxiously await your return and your stories.

Mayberry Magpie

Steph said...

Recipe sounds great! Happy travels!

Brambleberry said...

I wish you a happy journey! I can't wait to hear of your travels. God bless you, my dear!

Sandy said...

I did a fridge clean out tonight! I also love Nigella's recipes. YUM!

A Woman Who is: said...

Hey Brin, I know you are off. But I just wanted to drop you a line.

I am celebrating my one year blogging anniversary. I have made mention of your blog in my tribute about my first fun year in blogdom.

Drop by if you get a chance.

Have a great adventure!