The cold is definitely here to stay for the rest of the season, but thankfully I’m buried in blankets at the moment and sipping on a tea to keep me toasty warm. Today I made an awesome Chicken Cacciatore recipe with Ragu sauce. It was divine and is the prefect food for winter because it will keep you warm and full for a day out in the cold. Chicken Cacciatore is also one of my Mom’s signature dishes. I put my own spin on this version of the recipe, but at it’s core it’s my Mom’s.
Growing up in New Hampshire we had some wild winter weather. But nothing was worse than the Ice Storm of 2008. It was my senior year of High School and what was supposed to be a nasty wintery mix ended up being a storm that produced several inches of ice that coated everything and downed trees everywhere. If you’ve never been to New Hampshire, just imagine it as a place where the houses are literally in the woods, so trees all around and in this case, fallen trees all around. The damage was surreal. FEMA was called in, emergency crews from all over the country were flown in to help and in the meantime the temperature kept dipping below zero. We were without power for a long time and could’t leave our house because the roads were impassable. There was no school for over a month and it took years to clean up the damage from that storm.
I remember one day distinctly. The roads had opened up enough for us to get downtown to the grocery store. My Mom decided to make chicken cacciatore with Ragu to help warm us up and give us a good meal. We still didn’t have power at our house, so we prepared it by candlelight (thankfully we had a gas stove). While we were preparing the chicken cacciatore our mail came and in it was my college acceptance letter to Ithaca College, my number one choice for school and the college I eventually attended. I was over the moon! As I sat there reading my letter by candlelight with the chicken cacciatore bubbling in the background I knew something amazing was on the horizon.
Needless to say that scene is emblazoned in my memory and the chicken cacciatore is such a strong part of that memory that whenever I have it now I think of that moment. And now it has become a winter tradition to make that meal in memory of that darn ice storm! At least tonight when I made this one I could enjoy it with light.
Some family photos from the Ice Storm Era:
- 4 Chicken Thighs
- ½ Cup Flour
- ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Medium Onion
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Cup of Dry White Wine
- 1 Jar of Ragu Sauce
- Garnish as desired with:
- Salt and pepper each side of the chicken thighs and then dredge with flour.
- Heat a large frying pan on a medium high setting and add oil and chicken thighs skin side down. Cook until skin is browned, then flip to the other side. When second side is browned remove from pan and set aside.
- Chop a medium sized onion and green bell pepper and add to the pan. Cook until onion begins to turn translucent.
- Add wine and deglaze the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is about half the original amount.
- Add Ragu sauce and place chicken on top of sauce. Cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve with your favorite pasta and enjoy!