It’s time for the bi-monthly Cook the Books Club selection! This month, we’re reading a historical fiction novel from the WWII era - I was excited since this is one of my favorite genres!
I find WWII fascinating, especially since my grandpa fought in the tank division in WWII.
This novel takes place in the countryside of England, just outside of London, and focuses on the women of WWII…the ones who stayed home and had to feed themselves or their families on rations. It was an interesting take. Here’s my Goodreads review:
The Kitchen Front: A Novel by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great take on WWII from the perspective of ordinary women who needed to survive on the home front, especially in the kitchen with food rationing in place. While I found the story to be very enjoyable, I have to admit that the 4 women all had an astounding amount of personal growth through the short timeframe of the story. Honestly, if I start thinking too hard, it borders on ridiculous, so suffice to say, I'm not thinking too hard about this one!
Many chapters ended with a recipe that was talked about in the chapter, usually with consideration to wartime rationing.
View all my reviews
I always love it when novels include recipes! It’s a great way to focus culinary inspiration. The recipes in the novel appeared to take WWII rationing into account. I thought it was fantastic, and if I were able to cook in the summer, with my own garden at my disposal, I think I would have used the recipe from the book. As it was, it was the dead of winter, so I had to think a little more creatively and found a recipe relying on canned goods for this challenge.
I decided on Chicken Cacciatore, which was featured in the novel. I thought it was a delicious dish, especially when served with a fresh focaccia bread to sop up all that delicious sauce!
Adapted from Well Plated
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in pisces
Salt & pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (mine was yellow)
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 ounces button mushrooms, diced
1 ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper and add to the hot pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until browned, then remove and set aside onto a plate (chicken does not need to be cooked through).
Add the remaining oil to the same skillet. Add the onions, peppers, and mushrooms and cook until tender, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, wine, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, marjoram and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Add in the chicken, cover partway and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with a side of bread.