Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Kinda Cattiatore

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch our family of 6 eat (or try to) on $6/day.

Historically, chicken cattiatore is a meal hunter's would make with chicken or rabbit and whatever types of things they had around them, presumably in the forest--mushrooms, onions, herbs, etc. Which is what makes it a good throw together meal for many a cheapskate. Take what herbs and veggies you've got, throw it in a pot with some meat, and serve it over pasta or rice. (Now all I need to make it cheaper is to send Kip out to hunt us some free meat.)

We served ours over pasta (although I would do rice if we made it again--the pasta just let the yummy juices run off; rice would catch them better). We corrupted ours a bit from the historical by adding tomatoes (as many recipes these days do). People also often use peppers. Those were out of our budget league, but I canned some tomatoes this summer (my first time!), so those were fair game.

Chicken Cattiatore
Serves: 2 generously (we gave our kids the leftover pasta with some sauce)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Cost: $2.86
(Chicken breasts--bone in, skin on--$2.30, butter--.06, olive oil--.5onion--.30, tomatoes--.20 (just the cost of the lids; everything else was free, dried thyme--.05 (should have gotten fresh from the garden, but didn't), garnish parsley dug out from under the leaves of my garden

A note on chicken: We got ours from Fischer Farms. They are not quite free range, but very humanely treated (they have room to roam and are raised by Amish families). Also, they're raised in Indiana. Fischer Farms chicken and beef is excellent. It's also extremely affordable--really not more than Tyson's non-sale prices. But as a warming, I dislike their bacon. Also, I've had lots of trouble with them messing up my orders and providing me with inaccurate price information. Also, to get it delivered to Evansville, you have to order at least $100 worth (I went in with friends) of meat and you still have to pay a $15 delivery fee.

Another note on chicken: Use whatever pieces you've got. Many people recommend the dark meat, but we had breasts.

A note on leftovers: They were totally amazing. The actual meal was good, but the leftovers were so completely fabulous, I'd almost recommend making this and then putting in in the fridge for a day so the flavors could meld, or whatever those flavors did.

2 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 medium onion
1 quart tomatoes--29 oz can is the closest store-bought equivalent (crushed, diced, whole, any kind would work)
1 tsp thyme (or 6-8 sprigs fresh) (rosemary, sage, chives would have been good too)
parsley for garnish if you've got a leaf-covered garden to go to

Heat butter and oil in large pot (I used my Dutch oven--a Christmas gift from Kip). Add chicken breasts, skin down and braise on either side (cook until golden on each side). Add onions and cook about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add remaining veggies and herbs.

Put in oven in covered dish and cook 45 minutes. (If you're using a Dutch oven, you can just cover it and throw it in; otherwise you'll have to put in separate dish.).

Take out and scoop out veggies and meat. Reduce sauce if you wish (I did, but it's fine not to) by boiling for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with rice or pasta. (We used 1/2 lb pasta, which added another $.50 to our meal, but gave the kids plenty to eat.)


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