Chicken Cacciatore – An Italian classic

Cacciatore means hunter in Italian, so this meal is prepared what they would refer to as “hunter-style” A.K.A. rustic. There are many different versions of this wonderful hearty dish but the traditional version calls for onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.

I have made this dish without the mushrooms so, if you don’t have mushrooms on hand, you can still make this dish but including them adds another layer of texture that helps elevate the dish. Traditionally I have made this dish with polenta to give it more of a hearty winter feel but I do like serving it over plain white rice. I hope you will try this dish and let me know what you think.

Chicken cacciatore served on a bed of basmati rice

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 chicken, about 4 lb, rinsed, patted dry and cut into serving pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • Fresh cremini or white button mushrooms
    cleaned and sliced
  • 3-6 crushed garlic cloves
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 can (28oz) of drained diced tomatoes
  • Plain rice or polenta for serving
I like garlic so yes I used 6 cloves for my version of cacciatore but use less if you want.

Here is how to make it:

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • In a large frying pan with a lid, heat the oil and in batches add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are tender.
  • add the oregano, thyme, basil and pepper flakes and stir until combined.
  • Add the red wine and cook until it is reduced about half.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and add the chicken back in. Cover the pan with the lid, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken shows no pink when cut near the bone.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with aluminum foil.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, place a serving spoonful of rice or polenta in the center of each persons plate. Add a couple of piece of chicken on top of the rice and pour the sauce over the chicken and rice.
Chicken after it was browned
Onion and bell pepper cooking uncovered.
Returned the chicken to the pan and covered tightly with the lid, simmered for 30 minutes.
Served on a bed of basmati rice

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

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