We had some friends over for dinner tonight. Jonathon and his new wife, Leanne, came over for dinner. Jonathon was a student teacher of mine years ago. After teaching for a few years, he decided that his true calling was being a dentist. He is almost finished with dental school. Paula and I decided that it would be nice to have them over for dinner to hear about their honeymoon and more.

I made a recipe that I found in the recent Food Network magazine. It was a simple version of Chicken Cacciatore. I used the slow cooker and that made it even easier to make. If you want to try it, here is the recipe…

First the ingredients, which most people should have in their pantry…

  • 1/4 cup of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1-2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 finely chopped carrot
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of stewed tomatoes, crushed by hand.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of white rice

Start by soaking the mushrooms in 2/3 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Strain through a paper towel-lined sieve while reserving the liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms.

Next, toss the chicken and carrot with the olive oil in a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the chopped mushrooms, garlic and basil sprigs. After setting up the chicken on the bottom.pour in the tomatoes and their juices. Whisk the red wine with the flour, tomato paste and reserved mushroom liquid in a bowl until smooth. Add the wine-mushroom liquid mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours.

Shortly before the chicken is done, cook the rice. It was easy for us since we just used the rice cooker. Uncover the slow cooker and stir, breaking up the chicken into bite-size chunks. Let the dish sit uncovered until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil sprigs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chicken with the rice. Top with torn basil as a garnish.

We served up some green beans with this dish to give it some green color. I found a recipe for roasting the green beans in my collection of Cooks Illustrated magazines. It called for trimming the green beans. Then you place them on a single layer on a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Set the oven to 450 degrees and roast the green beans for 10 minutes. While they are roasting, mix 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of dry thyme, and 2 medium thinly-sliced garlic cloves. After 10 minutes, remove the green beans from the oven and coat the green beans evenly with the balsamic-honey mixture. Place back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy! This simple glaze really added some nice flavor to the green beans!

The entire meal was quite tasty and I do believe that everyone enjoyed it. Everyone had seconds and we had very little left-over. I am guessing that this is a sign that everyone enjoyed the meal! Most of all, we enjoyed the company. It is always a pleasure to cook for friends!

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