Meal and a Spiel is a Los Angeles based cooking school and online resource for recipes, videos, and health information that successfully teaches “the career girl generation” to cook with passion. The spiels are written to allow cooks to enter into the recipe viscerally, from the heart and body, and not only from the mind. Founded in 2010 by former high school history teacher and comedienne Elana Horwich who learned to cook while living in Italy, Meal and a Spiel believes in the power to transform the world one love-filled meal at a time. Elana has appeared on Good Day LA, KCAL, KNBC and KTLA and is available for media appearances and private dinner parties.
We asked Elana for a recipe she thinks best reflects the chilly Winter season. She offered her recipe for “Chicken alla Cacciatore,” and went to explain that, “Well cooked winter food warms you from the inside out.”
Chicken alla Cacciatore 2 pounds of dark meat chicken pieces (thighs and/or legs) extra virgin olive oil 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole 12 carrots, medium chopped (optional) 12 celery stalks, medium chopped (optional) 1 rosemary sprig, broken into 1 inch pieces 23 thyme sprigs, left whole (optional) 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, pulsed in blender or squeezed into small pieces with your hands 1 cup Chianti or another red wine…white will work too if that’s all you have salt, pepper a handful or two of of green, kalamata or mixed olives (optional). *Note: I like “unpitted” because they taste better. But they are a little harder to eat, so go for pitted if you prefer…particularly if you are serving kids or uptight people who don’t like to use fingers.) Method 1. Heat a dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat for 5 minutes. 2. Brown the chicken: this adds flavor and good looks to your chicken if you are absolutely too lazy to do this, I give you permission to skip this step. 3. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to dutch oven. 4. Add the chicken pieces…the number that will fit on the bottom of pan without being stacked on top of one another. 5. Let brown about five minutes per side, moving them around with tongs every so often so they don’t stick. 6. Remove and place onto paper towels. 7. Add onions, garlic, and rosemary (and carrots, celery and/or thyme if using) and let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. 8. Return chicken to pot. 9. Sprinkle generously with salt…a good teaspoon. 10. Add tomatoes and wine and olives. 11. Let rise to a little “boil.”12. Turn heat to low and cover. 13. Let cook for about an hour, until chicken can easily be pulled from the bones. 14. If sauce needs thickening, raise heat to medium or medium high and continue to cook with the pot uncovered. You can check out Meal and a Spiel’s official website, Facebook page, or Twitter account for more information and updates.