Il Pollo Alla Cacciatora

Sunday Dinner – 20 January 2019

Il Pollo Alla Cacciatora

This week it was a hearty meal for a wintery day, Italian Hunter’s Chicken Stew.

I got this recipe online somewhere many years ago. It’s typical of rustic chicken dishes popular throughout Europe, such as Poulet à la Chasseur, or Coq au Vin in France.

I coated some chicken thigh pieces with seasoned flour (paprika, salt and pepper) and fried them for a few minutes in the Lodge cast iron dutch oven with a little olive oil. I removed the chicken, and sautéed some onion and then garlic for a bit, then added a cup of Chianti to deglaze. Then the vegetables (thin celery and carrot slices, and julienned bell peppers) and two cans of diced tomatoes went in, along with the chicken, more salt and pepper, and a couple teaspoons each of basil, thyme and oregano. Once everything got up to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and then covered until tender, maybe thirty or forty minutes.

Claudia cooked brown Basmati rice and made a beautiful green salad to go along. She also baked a Vanilla Magic Custard Cake for dessert.

Vanilla Custard Magic Cake

Beef Bourguignon

Sunday Dinner – 20 May 2018

This week for Sunday Dinner we had one of our decadent favorites, Beef Bourguignon. Claudia made a beautiful salad, and I baked a couple of peasant boules to go with the stew. The wine was a 2016 Pinot Noir from Cooper’s Art by Timothy Olsen.

The Beef Bourguignon recipe is more or less Ina Garten’s, with a little liberty here and there. I use Herbs de Province in place of the thyme, and also tend to leave it in the oven longer.

The bread was the basic recipe from Artisan Bread in Five that we’ve been using for several years now.

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at this dish, or baking bread, but were daunted, I’d recommend that you give these recipes a try. As long as you follow step-by-step, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

For dessert, Claudia made this lovely cherry cheesecake. Yes, I know how lucky I am.

Cherry Cheesecake

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day is the day when Americans honor the fallen, and it’s also the unofficial beginning of Summer here. This year, as usual at our house, it was a weekend of cooking outside.

On Friday evening, we had some friends over and I cooked New York Strip steaks, baked potatoes and roasted asparagus on the Weber Genesis. For an appetizer, I baked a wheel of Brie with herbs and a wedge of Havarti with Blackberry Jam on a cedar plank.

Saturday we took a break from cooking and cleared out some of the delicious leftovers. Sunday morning, we drove down to Friends Creek Cemetery where my parents are buried, leaving some flowers. It was nice to see that the place is still well kept.

Sunday afternoon Claudia’s folks joined us for dinner. I used the rotisserie on the Weber Kettle for the first time this year to roast a chicken. It turned out tasty and perfect, with lots of hickory smoke flavor. The drip pan potatoes were a hit, as always, and I also grilled some roastin’ ears on the Genesis.

Monday, it was cowboy cooking. First, there was my wife’s favorite baked beans from her Aunt Nancy’s recipe. Wolfe Pit cole slaw and Hidden Valley potato wedges cooked on the plancha rounded out the side dishes. The more I cook on the plancha, the more I like it. It adds a crispy crust to everything from potatoes to burgers, and it helps to hold the heat steady on the Genesis which is great when you’re using it as an oven.

The star of the show was Grownup Sloppy Joes from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling by Jamie Purviance. This time, I seared then smoked the roast with Cherry and Hickory on the Kettle, and did the braising in a Lodge cast iron dutch oven over on the Genesis.

By the time everything was finished, I’d been on my feet all day and was pretty beat, but a nice glass of Petite Sirah from Lodi served as a fine restorative. The bold flavor was a perfect match to all the smoke and char of the barbecue. The folks joined us again and we had a lovely time. We’d been expecting my sons to join us as well, but they weren’t able to make it. I wish I could have emailed the smoky smell of the patio while the roast was on the Kettle.

The only dish from the entire weekend that needs work is the cole slaw. We eventually added some additional cider vinegar and sugar, because it ended up a little flat and salty tasting. I doubt that it’s the fault of the recipe. I cut it in half, and may have screwed up the proportions along the way.

It’s one of the joys of life to turn out a decent meal to share with people you love, and cooking outdoors is a feast for the senses from start to finish. I can’t think of any way I’d rather spend a long weekend.