Country Chicken for a Crowd

Lots of people come and go from our house.  We love to entertain!  Here’s a recipe for slow cooked Italian Country Chicken that is affordable, easy to prepare, and is made  in advance so you can enjoy your company.  Fairly healthy, this meal is always a crowd pleaser.  If you’ve stocked up on sale items like chicken and bacon, this entire menu can be made for less than $30 (about $1.50/person).  Serves about 20.

I serve slow-cooked Italian Country Chicken with crusty bread and a salad made of mixed greens, some type of fruit (pears, apples, figs, cranberries, or a combo of any), some type of nut (walnuts, almonds, pecans), some type of  cheese (blue, gorgonzola, stelton, feta, goat’s), red onion, and a vinaigrette.  The tender chicken in this dish falls apart and the flavors become complex when you add olives, fresh parsley, and crumbled bacon at the end.

Here’s how to do it:

Italian Country Chicken

Brown 2 pounds of chopped bacon, one pound at a time, in a heavy pot.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Drain about 1/2 the fat out of the pot.

In remaining bacon drippings, brown 8-10 chicken breasts on both sides.  No need to cook through.  Remove chicken to slow cooker.

Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.  Saute 4 chopped onions till soft.

Add 8-10 cloves of chopped garlic, a tablespoon or two of dried oregano, salt & pepper, and saute one more minute.

Add 1-2 cups of white wine depending on your tastes (or skip this all together), 2 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes, and 1 14-oz can of chicken broth.  Stir.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.

Slow cook for 8 hours or so.  Serve over pasta and top with a few handfuls of chopped parsley, chopped green and black olives (the good kind if you have them), and the reserved crumbled bacon.