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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Does a $5,000 Stove Make the Cook?

      Many of my friends’ homes have showcase kitchens – you know those basic $100,000 kitchens with a Viking Stove, Miele dishwasher (some with two), Sub-zero refrigerator, pot fillers and endless granite.  And you know what, they don’t even cook.
     As someone who likes to cook in a basement kitchen filled with two, low-end stoves purchased at Sears, and no dishwasher, I am not in awe.  To me, luxury kitchens are to impress not to cook.
    You do not need a fancy kitchen, fancy equipment or fancy recipes to be a good cook.  I do need  two stoves for holiday cooking, and easy access to pots and pans, utensils and spices. I purchased two racks from IKEA one with hooks for hanging pots and another for spices.
    A $5000 stove with high performance gas burners may bring the water to boil faster but the food always tastes the same.

    To prove my point this recipe can be cooked on one stove burner.

Pollo* alla Cacciatore (Chicken Hunter Style)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup cubed pancetta
  • 3 lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ cup of wine
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup cured black olives
In a large pan heat the oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown the chicken, in batches if necessary. Transfer with slotted spoon to a plate. Cook the pancetta over moderate heat, stirring, until it’s golden and brown, add scallions, chopped rosemary and fry for a couple of minutes. Transfer the chicken back into the pot, pour the wine and let it bubble before adding the tomatoes and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add olives and you are ready to eat.

*Pheasant may be substituted for chicken. It may require more cooking time.