Chicken Cacciatore

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chicken (2) 24/03/2018

For the uninitiated, cacciatore (pronounced catch-chee-ah-tor-ay) refers to a “hunter-style” method of cooking in which the meat, vegetables and herbs slowly simmer in a single pot. This recipe stays true to the Northern Italian tradition of using white wine, but adds passata, because, well, why not? Buon appetito!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (from about 2 sprigs)
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4oz smoked pancetta, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2-300ml passata
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, salt, black pepper, rosemary, and 2 tbsp of the oil; stir to make a paste; rub evenly over chicken pieces. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
  2. Heat remaining oil in a heavy cast iron pot over high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken pieces in a single layer, turning to brown all sides. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  3. Add mushrooms, pancetta and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and pancetta is rendered, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and stir to loosen browned bits from the bottom of pot. Add the stock cube and passata and bring to a boil. Return chicken pieces to pot, reduce heat to medium heat, partially cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Then uncover pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook 15-20 minutes more (depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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Harcha – Moroccan Pan-Fried Semolina Bread

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harcha2 18/03/2018

Harcha is one of the most delicious Moroccan snacks that I came across thanks to my beautiful Moroccan friend, Sarah, who never turns up to a get-together empty handed. So when she arrived for a coffee with a giant harcha fresh from the pan, we wasted no time devouring it with multiple toppings and/or fillings. Harcha is a semolina bread that you can make in any size and fill with savoury fillings such as cheese or sweet such as honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) semolina
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) milk (or as needed)

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Place the semolina in a bowl, add the sugar, baking powder and the salt. Mix well. You need semolina for this recipe so do not try to substitute it.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan then add the butter to the semolina and mix with a spoon. When it gets hard with the spoon, mix with your hands, Moroccan style!
  3. Add the milk and mix until you get a smooth dough. Then let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Shaping the Harcha:

  1. Turn on the heat to medium and heat up a heavy cast iron pan!
  2. Back to the dough… you will notice that it is drier as the semolina has absorbed the milk. If it’s too dry, add a little more milk.
  3. To get perfect shapes, use a cookie cutter to make medium sized Harcha. You can make a large one, or mini-ones – whatever you like. The discs should be ¼” thick or a bit thicker. When shaping the disks use parchment paper, so it’s easy to transfer them to the pan.

Cooking the Harcha:

  1. Reduce the heat to low – very important otherwise the harcha will burn from outside and not cook from inside – transfer the harcha to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes on each side. You will see that the surface gets a beautiful golden brown colour and that the discs start to dry. If you try to push on them, they will feel dry. Flip and cook the other side.
  2. Let the harcha cool a bit and cut it in half with a sharp knife. If the harcha is still too hot and the knife not sharp, it will crumble.
  3. Fill with cheese, jam, honey, or anything you like!