Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicken Caccia-touille

Eggplant and zucchini both come around during the heat of summer when long, slow cooking is pretty much out of the question. In most cases, I'm doing all I can to avoid heating up the kitchen unnecessarily. But, sometimes I've got to make an exception.

The trip to the farmer's market this week produced a bumper crop of great stuff, including a few delicious "eight ball" zucchini, and one of my very favorite summer delicacies -- fairytale eggplants.

These purple beauties are not only cute as a button (measuring an inch or two long, and about 1/2 inch at their widest point), but they cook up like butter. One of my favorite things to do is to pop their stems off and roast (or grill) them.

In this particular case, we were experiencing a bit of a break from the summer heat. And I was brainstorming how to use some of the farmer's market vegetables in conjunction with some chicken pieces I had thawing in the refrigerator. I was craving comfort food, and I happened to have a couple of sweet peppers available out of my own garden, so my first impulse was to make a cacciatore. But, a better plan seemed to be to take the zucchini and eggplant and throw them together into a summer ratatouille.

The more I thought about it, the more I wondered what it would be like if I simply combined the two recipes into something completely different.

So, I took the vegetables and roasted them up nice and tender. And I threw together a chunky tomato sauce, fortified with sweet peppers, onions, and a liberal dose of red wine. Add to that a bit of herbs de provence (central to a good ratatouille)... and put the chicken on to simmer. When the chicken was tender, I tossed the reduced sauce with the roasted vegetables and called it dinner.

The resulting dish was far better than the sum of its parts. Succulent stewed chicken, tender-crisp summer vegetables, and a sauce riddled with wine and herbs.

This caccia-touille was one of the best things we've tasted in a very long time.

And we'll share. Cuz we're nice people that way!
Chicken Caccia-touille


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7 comments:

  1. Hey, cool name! This is what we do with our chicken cacciatore too: I mean, add zucchini and eggplants to "lighten" it up. I'm going to use your name for it from now on: thanks!

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  2. mmmm I love recipes like this where you get inspired and just go for it! looks delish. thank you for sharing.

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  3. I love that you guys are so adventurous!  And, lucky for all of us, you're successful at it as well :-)  This one looks so delicious.

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  4. Hey what a food adventure, I love the way this dish went. I just saw those zucchini today too, so cool.

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  5. Well, it looks delicious. I thought you were going to make eggplant parmesan for me?
    That eggplant is GORGEOUS!

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  6. JS - Really, I think the name is even more fun than the dish, though I'd TOTALLY make this again.

    natashall - I love that too! It's nice to feel inspired... doesn't happen every day.

    Kathy - Glad you enjoy! Keep rooting for our success :)

    Cathy - The eight ball zucchini are awesome -- a bit sweeter than the ordinary variety.

    emiline -- I just might! LOVE those fairytales... and I bought more this week!

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  7. Last week I made a chicken piccatore when I didn't quite have all of the ingredients for my cacciatore or my piccata, so I combined the two. I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses silly frankenwords to name her dishes. I was afraid it was making me sound like Rachael Ray.

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