Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore recipe offers a way to please mushroom-haters, but I say to heck with them

I’ve never had to engage in “dinner subterfuge” to trick someone into eating something I’ve made.
   This is likely because I don’t have children to whom to serve my cooking, my husband isn’t a picky eater, and most other people trust that I won’t kill them with what I’ve made.
   But I have heard people lament they wish their significant other would try different food items, and that they wish they had a way to hide those items in dishes.
   Grace Parisi, developer of the Chicken Cacciatore (click for the recipe) recipe I’m recommending today, offers a way to hide the mushrooms in the dish from mushroom-haters. It is from her introduction to the recipe that I take the term “dinner subterfuge.”
   Parisi writes that, instead of using fresh mushrooms in the dish, dried porcini mushrooms can be soaked, and the water in the recipe replaced with the soaking liquid.
   This is ostensibly to trick mushroom-hating people, yet still keep the earthy flavor added by mushrooms.
   I know there are adults out there who hate mushrooms, and perhaps there are children who hate them, too.
   However, I must object with Parisi’s suggestion of leaving the mushrooms out.
   I would never leave out these lovely fungi from a dish just to please mushroom-haters!
   I say keep the mushrooms, and the mushroom-haters can pick them out. The haters might even eat accidently eat the mushrooms, as they are covered in a deep, dark tomato sauce, and discover they, *gasp*, like them.
   This is dinner subterfuge on its own, I suppose, but I like this method better.
   Whatever advice you end up taking, this dish will be a success. It has a comforting aura about it, and can easily be made on a weeknight.
   And leftovers warm up beautifully in the microwave.
   Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are browned in a skillet, and are transferred to a plate.
   Chopped onion, minced garlic, sliced mushrooms and finely-chopped fresh rosemary are put in the skillet and browned, then tomato paste, puréed canned Italian tomatoes and water (or the mushroom water), are added and the mixture is simmered.
   Balsamic vinegar is stirred in to finish the dish.

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