Tag Archives: Jamie’s Italian

Pollo alla Cacciatora

2014-01-25 19.07.42

I hadn’t bought a cook book for a very long time and it was only because I was feeling sorry for Jamie, seeing his cook books on the shelf of a shop in town, going for a very low price, that I didn’t want to see him falling on hard times 😉

It was then a case of what am I going to cook first from it? It was cold and wet and I didn’t exactly want to go out for hours shopping just cook something for supper. So after returning from a local butcher and off licence with the chicken and wine, I was able to get back home in the warm to start preparing. Setting up the chicken to marinade in the wine etc. was good but I think I would have preferred to leave it in the fridge overnight to really infuse the flavours.

When it came to cooking this finally, the kitchen looked like a bomb site, with the amount of bowls and pans used to prepare and cook this recipe but it was well worth it 🙂 I made enough to last the following day and it was well worth letting it reheat again slowly, as I reckon it tasted even better second time round!

According to Jamie Oliver in his Italian book,

Chicken cacciatora seems to be reasonably well known in Britain because it’s the classic pre-packed dish you find in Italian food ranges in supermarkets (which, to be honest, never taste of much). When you get the real deal cooked at home with love and passion it’s a totally different experience. It’s a simple combination of flavours that just works really well. Cacciatore means ‘hunter’, so this is obviously the type of food that a hunter’s wife cooks for her fella when he gets home from a hard morning spent in the countryside. This is also a great dish for big parties, as it looks after itself in the oven.

Ingredients:
2 kg higher-welfare chicken, jointed, or use the equivalent amount of chicken pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled (1 crushed, 2 sliced)
½ bottle Chianti
flour, for dusting (gluten free or plain)
extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1 handful green or black olives, stoned
2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed clove of garlic and cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

3. Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

4. Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad and plenty of Chianti.

Enjoy!

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2014-01-25 21.50.40

Jamie’s Italian


Photo © Jamie’s Italian

For my birthday last week, (on the hottest day of the year so far), we decided to go out to dinner to Jamie’s Italian in Guildford, rather than the ‘local’ curry house or chinese restaurant which are within walking distance of home, as I wanted to enjoy something different. I had heard mixed reviews of the restaurant, with some giving it high praise and others telling me it was below average. I still wanted to try it out regardless.

We booked in advance, which allowed us to have a side booth for the evening, meaning we were not as crowded as others in the very full (good sign) main eating area. The staff, who were welcoming and very attentive as soon as we arrived, got us seated with menus to browse, without the usual forcing us to order drinks as soon as our backsides were planted. We liked the ‘urban’ kitchen eatery décor of the place, as it seemed to match that of Jamie himself, from the good old early days on TV. I’m not sure I would like to have been sat in the middle of the crowded main area though, as people did seem to be sat on top of one another, while some were dodging pillars. Sat on the side, I was wondering for the sake of a few covers, if re-arranging would have made it more enjoyable for the others?

Anyway, after a short period, we noticed that many were there celebrating their birthdays too, as a procession of cakes, puddings and candles kept leaving the kitchen pass area, with ‘Happy Birthday’ ringing out in various tones and keys, across the restaurant (some sang better than others). This prompted my other half, to inform our waiter that it was my birthday too and ‘could my pudding possibly have a candle in it as well’, when it eventually came out. 🙂

We were not in the mood to drink ‘too’ much, especially with it still being 25C+ outside at 8pm and one thing we both really liked, that you don’t really see in many other restaurants, is being able to buy wine by the carafe (50cl rather than 75cl), which went down great, (along with all the water we were drinking to stay hydrated), especially as we ordered one carafe each, Montepulciano Red and Pinot Grigio Rosé.

We didn’t have to wait long for the food to arrive once we ordered it and for what we ordered, I personally do not think it was overpriced. In fact, for the starters we had, I was expecting it to be more expensive, having had ‘similar style’ first courses for more inflated prices elsewhere.

For our starters, we both chose the Antipasti Meat Plank which consisted of cured meats, Italian cheeses, pickles and a crunchy salad, which set the scene for the rest of the evening.

For our mains we had Black Angel Spaghetti (which probably had a bit too much chilli for our tastes) and Seaside Risotto which was delicious.

Finally, for our desserts we had Sicilian Cheesecake and Panna Cotta, with a candle stuck out the top of my Panna Cotta when it arrived, along with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. I chose the Panna Cotta as I wanted to see if it was as good as the one in my last blog post. I also got my hands on a menu that was signed by all the Chefs and the front of house team working there, which was a great reminder of the evening.

To top the evening off, just before the bill arrived, we were presented with two shot glasses of Limoncello on the house, which would always go down very well!

To sum up it all up, I would say it was a really good experience, with very friendly, attentive staff and with very tasty food that you don’t really get elsewhere and the price wasn’t too bad either. I would go back again, to try something else from the menu, without a second thought, to see if it was as good! I’m glad I dismissed the negative reviews and shows that if you want to judge somewhere, you have to try it out for yourself.