Now, ladies, I don't believe you need a man to be happy. But, let's be honest - the name is catchy. I survived without a man and raised three kick-ass girls in the process. Before that, I dealt with a man that made it harder not easier. I now have a wonderful man in my life that I don't need there, I want there. How to do you go from a brash, stubborn lady who insisted on doing everything for herself to spoiled? I wasn't aware that I could have a life where I would never have to take out the trash, change a lightbulb or stick my hand down the garbage disposal again. This man thinks I am beautiful in a dirt covered shirt with sweaty pits and in my garden Crocs. To give you a glimpse of what he deals with here is just one incident of my irrational fits. Once, because he cleaned a pan of rendered bacon fat, I threw frozen sausage in his general direction, and he stayed. Living with a hyperactive loud mouthed Cajun lady is a task only the bravest of souls would undertake. This version of Cacciatore is a new favorite of his. I know this because every time he eats he gets all grabby and "Hey baby watcha doin?" He's an Evangeline parish boy so of course, I added smoked sausage to it. Just in case you weren't aware Evangeline Parish loves its smoked meats. They love them so much they have a smoked meat festival. As you read the recipe you will see I added other ingredients that my family enjoys. Cacciatore is a great recipe to customize to your families taste, it's very forgiving to switching ingredients. If you already have a man or woman then maybe this dish will get you some extra loving attention for the night.
Unlike the Lebanese chicken, this recipe has quite a few ingredients. It's worth it though I promise. Have fun with the veggies in this one. I am slowly trying to make my whole yard an edible yard. When I went to make this I just popped outside and grabbed peppers and tomatoes from the garden. You know my stance on leg quarters. Using skin on/ bone in chicken is the best in this dish since it's stewed and that extra flavor really comes out. If you must use boneless skinless I recommend you use a homemade chicken stock to get a similar result. I added sausage, do you really need an explanation other than sausage is good in almost everything? For the mushrooms, I usually go with what's the most affordable. I may be wrong but I can't tell the difference between an expensive portabella and a poor man's white button when they are cooked in a sauce this long. We have a couple mushroom haters in the friends' group so I make a special version for them. Just kidding I tell them to suck it up and pick them out. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. I've made this with many adaptations. Green beans, asparagus, and potatoes worked out well. Broccoli and eggplant were mushy failures. I am fortunately the proud owner of a large herb garden so I have fresh herbs at my disposal. I do believe fresh herbs do make a difference but I also know they can be way out of the budget for some, so if you substitute dry herbs remember you need a lot less than fresh. Since the rest of the ingredients are pretty standard on to the cooking.
Prep and assembly
I like to get all my ingredients ready to go so I can cook without stressing. Notice I said I like to but this rarely happens. Most the time when I cook this type of dish I cram in veggie chopping while browning my meats. The pictures in the blog are masterfully edited by Lucius to hide the tornado that is my kitchen when I cook.
Fine dice your onions and chop your garlic. Seed and dice your tomatoes (okay sometimes I don't seed them but you're supposed too.) I cut my bell pepper in strips and slice my mushrooms slightly thick to make it easier for the persnickety people to pick them out. Chiffonade ( a fancy cooking term for gently slicing into thin ribbons) the basil and pull the leaves off the thyme stem. Set veggies and herbs aside.
I hate sausage rounds. I always end making a fool of myself trying to bite them in half and end up with a half-bitten sausage dangling from my mouth because that little bit of skin just won't let go. Half moons people, that's the perfect bite. Set the sausage aside.
In a pan or dish big enough to hold your chicken pieces combine the flour with the cajun seasoning. Lightly dust your chicken with the cajun seasoning. Once all your chicken is seasoned dredge your chicken in the flour mixture and set on a baking rack.
In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat add and heat up your oil. When the oil is ready brown your chicken on both sides. About 2-3 minutes a side. You will have to do this in batches, I sometimes cheat and have a second skillet going to hurry up the process. Place the browned chicken aside to be added back later.
In the same dutch oven add your sausage till it's slightly browned and has started to release some fat. Once browned remove from the pot set it aside. I am a big believer in fat for flavor so I put my sausage in a bowl to catch all those juices.Same goes for the chicken.
Now add the onions and bell peppers to the pot and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add your mushrooms and garlic and cajun seasoning and saute just until the mushrooms start to wilt a little. About 2 minutes.We love spice so I add quite a bit, add as much suits your spice level.
Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring this mixture to a boil.Add the red pepper, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Add salt and black pepper to taste.Stir to combine.
Add the chicken and sausage back to the pot. Gently stir to combine. It will look like there isn't enough sauce at first but no worries as it cooks there will be.
Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer for at least 1 hour, until the chicken is tender. I check it about every 15 minutes to make sure it hasn't come to a boil and to very gently stir to make sure it isn't burning on the bottom.
Once the chicken is tender, prepare your pasta. Serve the chicken over pasta garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley.
3-4 lbs Chicken leg quarters
Cajun seasoning(at least a tablespoon, its is used throughout the recipe)
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 veggie oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 small red and yellow bell pepper , sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms(your choice)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 ounces smoked sausage(I used a local pork sausage) sliced into half moons
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more to taste
salt and black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade
1 pound Rotini pasta
Combine flour and cajun seasoning in a pan large enough to fit your chicken pieces.
Lightly dust chicken with cajun seasoning
Dredge chicken in flour and set aside on a baking rack
Heat up oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven.
Once the oil is ready brown your chicken in batches on bothe sides.About 2-3 minutes aside.
Set browned chicken aside preferably in something to catch the juices to be added back later
Add sausage to pot and saute till slightly browned and just releasing its fat. Remove from pot and set aside in a shallow bowl.
Add the onions and peppers to the pot. Saute for a couple minutes.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for a couple minutes.
Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring this mixture to a boil.
Once boiling add red pepper, thyme, basil, and bay leaf.
Add salt and pepper if needed.
Add back in the chicken and sausage with the collected juices. Gently stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium and cover.
Simmer for at least an hour till chicken is tender. I check every 15 minutes to make sure it's not boiling and nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Once the chicken is done prepare your pasta.
Serve chicken over pasta garnished with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.