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Chicken Pepperoncini for Bloggeraid

About six months ago, a very industrious and passionate trio of bloggers organized an international consortium of even more bloggers and Bloggeraid was born. According to founders, Ivy from Kopiaste [1], Val from More Than Burnt Toast [2] and Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen [3], Bloggeraid [4] is “a growing group of international food bloggers determined to make a difference in aid of world famine. The love of food and community that brings us together drives the compassion of its members to reach out to our world to help those less fortunate than we are. Banded by a mission of helping to make a change in a world where starvation affects such a profound number of people, we will raise money and awareness for the hungry in communities both at home and abroad.”

Pretty amazing, huh? Did I not tell you that these three ladies were industrious and passionate? Back in January, Ivy, Val and Giz announced that Bloggeraid will be publishing a cookbook with 100% of the profit from sales being directed to the School Meals [5] program of The World Food Programme (WFP), [6] the United Nations frontline agency.

Why School Meals? Well, in countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance. Parents are motivated to send their children to school instead of keeping them at home to work or care for siblings. In the poorest parts of the world, a school meals program can double primary school enrollment in one year. Among the key beneficiaries are girls, who otherwise may never be given the opportunity to learn.

The WFP School Meals program primarily involves providing nutritious in-school meals. However, in its “take-home ration” projects, WFP also provides basic food items, often including a sack of rice and a can of cooking oil, to families who send their daughters to school.

The Bloggeraid cookbook is targeted for sale on Amazon [7] by November/December 2009, and all bloggers have been invited to contribute their favorite recipes to this effort.

I’m very happy to be a member of Bloggeraid, and even happier that I am able to contribute a recipe for the cause. This Chicken Pepperoncini is one of the first dishes that I learned to prepare after I was married. Both my mother and grandmother used to make it a lot and it has always been very popular with my family.

In case you’re wondering what pepperoncini are, they’re a small, bright green variety of sweet pepper in the Capsicum annuum [8] family. They are also known as Tuscan peppers, sweet Italian peppers and golden Greek peppers. Pepperoncini are mild, but zesty, with a slight heat to them. They are commonly pickled and sold in jars, which is how I used them in this dish.

The recipe is not a complicated one. Sliced onions, garlic and fresh mushrooms are sauteed with chicken. After which, the ingredients are braised in some white wine, chicken broth and pepperoncini juice. Then, the pepperoncini, themselves are added to the mix and simmered a little bit more. The original recipe uses a whole cut up chicken, but I always make this dish with boneless chicken thighs. Using boneless chicken cuts down the cooking time quite a bit. Plus, the thighs hold up well to braising without drying out.

This Chicken Pepperoncini is a zesty, hearty and very flavorful main dish. It has elements of sweet, sour, salty and spicy woven through it. The dish is warm and mellow, but leaves a little kick in the back of your throat while going down. Of course, the dish really sings when served over a huge bowl of pasta!

If you’d like to have the recipe for my Chicken Pepperoncini, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait for the cookbook. I’m such a tease! But seriously, all of the recipe contributors have been asked not to publish their recipes before the book launch.

If YOU would also like to contribute to this wonderful and worthwhile cause, there’s still time. The deadline for recipe submission is not until March 31, 2009. Hop on over to this page [9] on the Bloggeraid web site and find out all of the details.