Chicken Casseroles

By Beacon Staff

I’m pleased to share with you two wonderful chicken casseroles that may be prepared one day or more in advance prior to serving. In fact, preparing them ahead of time can make the dishes taste even more delicious by allowing time for all of the elements to immerse together. I invite you to try these fine dishes and share them with your family and friends.

Italian Chicken Cacciatore
3/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
12 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 red peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into half-inch strips
1 pablano pepper, seeded and sliced into half-inch strips
1 cup dry white wine
15 ounces chicken broth
28 ounces whole tomatoes with juices crushed
1 teaspoon crushed dry red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper

Dry chicken thoroughly. Cut into eight pieces, cutting breasts into thirds. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat olive oil in 10-inch flame-proof casserole skillet. Place chicken in skillet. Brown all sides. Remove chicken and place on sheet pan.

Keep skillet hot and add garlic and brown until golden. Add mushrooms and peppers. Cook for about three minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for approximately 1 1/2 hours. If sauce is watery, remove chicken and allow sauce to reduce. When sauce is at the right consistency, add chicken and reheat. Serve over rice or pasta.

Coq Au Vin-My favorite!
3/4 ounce thick bacon cut into 1-inch long and 1/4 inch-across slices
24 pearl onions, peeled
1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken, Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cognac
3 cups burgundy wine or Chianti
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
2 bay leaves
blond roux, equal parts of flour and butter
1 tablespoon Cacao bitter sweet chocolate

Remove stems from mushrooms. Cut caps into eighths. Heat olive oil in 10-inch flame proof casserole skillet. Add bacon to hot oil and lightly brown. Follow by doing same with onions, then mushrooms. Remove ingredients from skillet and place into bowl for later use.

Dry chicken thoroughly. Cut into 8 pieces, cutting breasts into thirds. Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat skillet with bacon fat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add bacon, onion and mushroom mixture and cover. Cook slowly at 250 degrees for approximately 6-7 minutes. Uncover, pour in cognac and ignite. Shake pan back and forth until flames subside.

In a separate bowl, combine burgundy wine or Chianti, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaves. Pour wine mixture into skillet covering chicken, and simmer for approximately 40 minutes or tender when pierced with a fork. Once chicken is tender, remove fat from liquid and reduce liquid to a concentrated flavor measuring about 2 cups.

To prepare blond roux, melt butter. Add flour and cook until roux smells like popcorn and feels like sand. Beat into liquid and bring to a boil. Simmer. Add Cacao chocolate for a special finishing touch.

Carefully add chicken and trimmings to blond roux and heat slowly. Avoid breaking chicken meat from bone. You can serve this flavorful dish over pars lied butter wide noodles.

I hope you will join me and the FVCC Culinary Arts students this spring as we present our fifth season of Chef’s Table opening Jan. 28. Visit our Web site at to view the menus for our Friday evening dinners. Bon Appétit!

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