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Farm Fresh: Quick cacciatore serves up last fruits of garden

Thursday, October 11, 2001

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Herb gardens are winding down for the summer season, and if you're like us and trying to keep them going up until the first hard frost, recipes like this one offer inspiration to keep 'em going.

This quick and easy cacciatore is a fast saute rather than a slow stewing, so the fresh herbs don't have time to lose their aroma or flavor. Toss in a few late tomatoes and you've got a great meal redolent of summer's last gasp. Serve this with oven-crisped french fries or a rice pilaf to soak up the pan juices.

HERB CHICKEN CACCIATORE

1/2 cup olive oil, or less
4 large boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 celery ribs, including leaves, finely chopped
6 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (1 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup Amontillado or other medium-dry sherry
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large green olives, pitted and chopped
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Whole fresh basil leaves, for garnish, optional
4 lemon wedges, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the chicken and saute over medium-high heat until brown on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Stir the onions, garlic, celery, chopped basil, broth, salt and pepper into the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until almost done but still a little pink in the center. Add the tomatoes, sherry, vinegar, olives, anchovies and rosemary and stir to mix. Cook, making sure the sauce covers the chicken, for 10 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve right away, garnished with the whole basil leaves and lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

"Smith & Hawken Community Gardeners' Cookbook"

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