My daughter came for a visit shortly after the New Year began and she had only one wish, “Please show me how to make Chicken Cacciatore.” Since I got the recipe from my mother, I was anxious to pass it along to another generation and, hopefully, she will do the same down the line.

Last week when it was so hot, I did not want to grill outside or turn on the oven, so I cooked on the range top. This is a nice recipe for any occasion and can be added to for more people. Also, leftovers can be frozen for a later time.

Chicken Cacciatore

1 whole cut-up chicken (or parts to your liking) – we used 5 thighs + 2 large breasts for 3 servings

Fat for frying (Olive Oil is light, but you can use your favorite)

2 lg. cans (15 oz. ea.) tomato sauce

4 1/2 cans water

1 medium diced onion

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. oregano

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

8 bay leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

2 Tbsps. Flour + 1/2 cup water for thickening

1 lb. vermicelli or angel hair pasta (spaghetti can be used, if you prefer)

Cover bottom of large skillet with oil of your choice. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on skin side of chicken. (Do not flour the chicken.) Fry chicken skin side down to a medium brown. Salt and pepper the other side before turning. After browning the second side, put in a medium cook pot, covered, until all chicken is done. Drain fat out of the skillet until just a little is left for sautéing diced onion and the garlic until onion is soft but not brown. Add tomato sauce. Gradually add water and stir thoroughly. Add thyme, oregano, parsley, bay leaves, salt & pepper. Pour sauce over chicken, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. or until chicken is done. Thicken sauce with flour and water mixture (place in a small jar and shake until no lumps appear). Put chicken to one side of the pot and gradually add the thickener, stirring quickly so as not to cause lumps. Simmer about 15 minutes more and make the pasta. Don’t make gravy too thick, just medium. Skim out skin and bones. The chicken should fall apart. Taste the sauce (be careful, it will be hot!) and if it tastes too tomatoey, you might add 1 tablespoon sugar.

Make pasta in a separate pot. Boil water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and put in a warm covered casserole dish. Add some pats of butter or a tiny bit of sauce and stir to keep the pasta from sticking. The thinner the pasta, the more it wants to clump together.

Serve the chicken and sauce in separate covered casserole dishes so they will stay hot and everyone can help themselves to the amount they will eat.

Serve with any or all of these: salad, garlic bread, parmesan cheese for garnish, and a nice red wine.

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