If you have invited 24 people to dinner, consider serving chicken as the main dish. Most people like chicken, and it adapts well to many different flavors. Cooking for a crowd doesn't necessarily require special equipment, so you won't have to buy a huge barbecue grill or find a commercial kitchen for the day. The simplest thing to do is to make braised chicken in an 18-qt. electric roaster. Prepare the chicken early in the day using a modified chicken cacciatore recipe, and let it simmer while you complete other tasks.
Preheat the roaster oven with the lid on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, which takes about 15 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/8-inch deep.
Rinse the chicken pieces under cool, running water, and pat them dry with paper towels.
Place several chicken pieces in the frying pan, without crowding them. Brown them, turning them at least once with a fork. As they become browned, move the chicken pieces to the roaster oven, and keep them covered. Add oil to the frying pan as necessary to brown all the chicken.
Add the onion, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic to the large frying pan. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion looks glazed and any mushroom liquid has evaporated. Pour half of the vegetables into the roaster, over the chicken.
Sprinkle the flour over the remaining vegetables in the frying pan, and stir until the flour makes a paste coating the vegetables.
Add the chicken broth to the frying pan, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour this mixture over the chicken pieces.
Add the herbs, white wine and crushed tomatoes to the roaster. Shake salt and pepper over the top. Add sufficient water to nearly cover the chicken. Stir briefly to combine the ingredients.
Cover the roaster and simmer the chicken until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, measured with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest piece of chicken. This can take two or three hours. Stir the ingredients after an hour.
For a different flavor, omit the red bell peppers, oregano and tomatoes. Substitute six cups of chicken broth for the tomatoes. Add 1 tbsp. parsley and 1 tsp. celery seed.
Cooking time is variable, depending on the roaster and the thickness of the chicken pieces. Allow at least two hours for cooking the chicken.
Removing the lid causes the temperature to drop, so try to avoid it.