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Monday, January 13, 2014


Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_9797080_cacciatore.html'>yatomo / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Caroline Mickelson has attending graduate school in a Scottish castle, ridden a camel around the Pyramids in Giza, and taken a best-in-a-lifetime road trip to Graceland. She also writes the Little Italy mystery series. Learn more about her and her books at her website. Today she joins us to share a recipe for chicken cacciatore and a little bit about From Mangia to Murder.

One of the most enjoyable parts of having published the first book in my Little Italy cozy mystery is hearing from readers. Some of them are Italian-Americans, some aren’t, and I enjoy hearing what they thought of my book. One comment that I’ve heard many times is, “All the food in your book brings back so many memories.” Because my own grandfather was Italian-American, I know just what they mean when they reminisce about family gatherings and holidays that center around family and food.

My main character, Sophia Mancini, could say much the same. Sophia’s best quality is that she cares deeply about her family. Naturally, this is the quality that gets her into trouble when she decides to play amateur sleuth after a chef is killed at a restaurant where her family is celebrating the opening of their new private detective agency. On the menu that night was zuppa di ceci (creamy chick pea soup), pasta with mascarpone, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach, followed by gnocchi caprese and finally chicken cacciatore. Throughout the book, the characters sit and hash out the mystery over – what else? – food. Coming up with new-to-me recipes to try has been a fun part of the research for both this book and the next in the series, Lights Out in Little Italy, which takes place at a dinner party where one dinner guest doesn’t survive the meal.

Chicken Cacciatore
(four servings)

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 lbs cubed chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 chopped green pepper
1 12-16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Mix flour, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes and mix until coated. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Fry the chicken until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Sauté the garlic, onion, and green pepper in the skillet until all are lightly browned. Return chicken to the skillet. Add tomatoes and wine. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add mushrooms, oregano, salt and pepper as desired and simmer for another 10-12 minutes. Serve over pasta or with a salad and fresh loaf of garlic or Italian bread.

From Mangia to Murder
Little Italy, 1946 - Sophia Mancini would have enjoyed the grand opening celebration of her family's private detective agency if the volatile chef at Vincenzo's Ristorante had actually survived the meal. But before Sophia's chilled spoon hit the spumoni, someone plunged a knife into Vincenzo's back, and the word on everyone's lips went from mangia to murder.

Sophia soon finds herself trailing crime boss Frankie Vidoni, chatting with his mouthy mistress Maria, and dodging henchman Mooch DiMuccio. She's suspicious of Vincenzo's widow Stella and his assistant chef Eugene because they don't appear the least bit dismayed by Vincenzo's passing.

There is no conversation Sophia won't eavesdrop on, no question shewon't ask, and no danger she won't face to find the killer.

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Rose Anderson said...

Sound like a cute story and a yummy recipe. Best luck, Caroline.

Unknown said...

My mom grew up on Mott Street. And I have fond memories of Little Italy and the Feast of San Gennaro and the delicious zeppolas that left grease spots on the paper bags. Your receipe sounds delish and the books sound like fun reads.

Caroline Mickelson said...

Thanks Rose - I'm not the cook I'd like to be but this is a fairly easy recipe. Thanks for stopping by today - Caroline

Caroline Mickelson said...

Nancy - Isn't it funny how many of our memories involve food? I love reading about Little Italy and the Italian-American community, it's a blessing that so many people have written about it so that the memories won't be lost. Thanks for stopping by - Caroline

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Oh I will definitely try this recipe Caroline--and the book sounds like such fun!

Angela Adams said...

Chicken Cacciatore is one of my favorite dishes! Thanks for the recipe.

Caroline Mickelson said...

Angela and Lucy - Thanks for stopping by. I've heard that some people make chicken cacciatore in the crockpot - I haven't tried it but think I might give it a try - Caroline

Unknown said...

I tried Chicken Cacciatore just this morning and it really turned out so well that my office mate asked of it in advance for tomorrow. If you are from Orlando or you happen to visit there, don't forget to drop by at Pizza Paradiso Orlando, Best pizza place I ever visited. Just a tip back to you. Great hit! Thanks a lot for the recipe!

Unknown said...

Wonderful recipe, Caroline. Wishing you success with the series. The Italian American love of family and food has always been very inspiring!