Classic Chicken Cacciatore: A Taste of Italian Countryside

Delve into the rustic flavors of Italy with our Chicken Cacciatore recipe, blending tender chicken with hearty tomatoes and aromatic herbs.

October 1, 2023
Classic Chicken CacciatorePhoto By Canva
Difficulty Medium
Servings 4 people
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 45 mins
Total 65 mins

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Season the Chicken: Start by seasoning the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Sear the Chicken: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown them on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Introduce the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms, and continue to cook until softened.
  4. Add Tomatoes & Wine: Pour in the crushed tomatoes, red wine (if using), dried oregano, dried basil, and bay leaf. Stir well, ensuring the bottom of the pan is deglazed.
  5. Simmer: Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, submerging them in the tomato mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  6. Final Touches: If using, add olives to the pan, stir, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  7. Serve: Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot, preferably with crusty bread or over cooked pasta.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Classic Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories310
% Daily Value*
Protein 25 g50%
Total Fat 16 g20.5%
Cholesterol 85 mg28.3%
Sodium 550 mg23.9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tips

  • Chicken Selection: While bone-in chicken pieces are recommended for added flavor, boneless cuts can be used for a quicker cook time.
  • Depth of Flavor: For an even richer taste, consider marinating the chicken pieces in wine, garlic, and herbs for a few hours before cooking.
  • Versatility: Feel free to add other vegetables you have on hand, such as zucchini or carrots, for added texture and flavor.
  • Serving Suggestions: Chicken Cacciatore pairs beautifully with risotto, polenta, or even mashed potatoes, aside from the traditional pasta or bread.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove for the best flavor.
  • If you don't have fresh herbs, dried ones work just fine. Adjust quantities to your preference.
  • For a non-alcoholic version, simply skip the wine or replace it with chicken broth.
  • This dish tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld and intensify, so consider making it ahead of time.
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There's a reason why Chicken Cacciatore, or "hunter's chicken," has stood the test of time in Italian kitchens. It's a simple, hearty dish that captures the essence of traditional Italian cooking: fresh ingredients, aromatic herbs, and the love of shared meals. Whether you're yearning for a taste of the Italian countryside or simply looking for a comforting meal to share with loved ones, our Classic Chicken Cacciatore won't disappoint.

The Origins of Chicken Cacciatore

The word "cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian, and as the name suggests, Chicken Cacciatore is a "hunter-style" dish. Historically, after a successful hunt, the hunters would return with game and forage for ingredients in the wild, such as mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. The traditional chicken cacciatore recipe evolved from these simple beginnings, emphasizing hearty and robust flavors.

Modern Twists and Variations

In today's culinary landscape, while the essence of the dish remains true to its rustic origins, various modern adaptations have emerged. For those looking to simplify the process without compromising on taste, an easy chicken cacciatore recipe can be executed using modern kitchen gadgets. For instance, by using a chicken cacciatore slow cooker or chicken cacciatore crock pot method, one can achieve a deeply flavored and tender chicken with minimal fuss. Such innovations make it feasible for the dish to be prepared in the morning and be ready to serve by dinner time.

Why It's Loved Worldwide

What sets the best chicken cacciatore recipe apart from other chicken dishes is its rich and aromatic tomato-based sauce combined with a blend of herbs and vegetables. Over the years, the dish has traveled beyond the borders of Italy, with each region or family adding its unique twist. Whether it's the traditional chicken cacciatore recipe handed down through generations or a modern, easy-to-follow version, this dish continues to be a favorite, embodying the very essence of Italian comfort food.

What Is Chicken Cacciatore Sauce Made Of?

Chicken cacciatore sauce is a rich and hearty sauce traditionally made from a combination of tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs. Here's a breakdown of the primary ingredients commonly found in chicken cacciatore sauce:

Tomatoes: This forms the base of the sauce. Fresh tomatoes, diced or crushed, are ideal, but canned tomatoes can also be used for convenience.

Bell Peppers: Often red and green bell peppers are used, sliced into strips or diced.

Onions: Typically, white or yellow onions are preferred, finely chopped or sliced.

Garlic: Minced or finely chopped garlic adds depth and flavor.

Herbs: Oregano, basil, and rosemary are commonly used herbs in the sauce. Fresh herbs add a vibrant flavor, but dried herbs can be used as a substitute.

Red Wine: Some recipes incorporate red wine for added depth and richness.

Olive Oil: Used to sauté the vegetables and brown the chicken before simmering in the sauce.

Broth or Stock: Chicken broth or stock can be added to provide more liquid and enhance the chicken flavor.

Mushrooms: Some variations of the recipe include sliced mushrooms for an added earthy flavor.

Salt and Pepper: For seasoning.

Red Pepper Flakes: For those who prefer a bit of heat.

Capers and Olives: Some versions, especially from certain regions of Italy, might include capers and olives for a tangy twist.

The chicken is browned and then simmered in this sauce, allowing the flavors to meld and the chicken to become tender and flavorful.

What Does Chicken Cacciatore Stand For?

"Chicken Cacciatore" translates to "hunter's chicken" in English. The term "cacciatore" comes from the Italian word "cacciatore" which means "hunter." The dish gets its name from the way it's traditionally prepared in Italy, which is reminiscent of a hunter's style of cooking. Historically, after a hunt, the catch would be cooked with ingredients on hand, often including tomatoes, onions, and herbs. In the context of this dish, "hunter-style" typically refers to a rustic, hearty, and flavorful stew or sauce made with chicken, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The "hunter-style" preparation isn't exclusive to chicken; in Italy, it can also refer to dishes made with other meats cooked in a similar manner.

What To Eat With Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken cacciatore, with its robust and hearty sauce, pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Here are some popular choices to complement the flavors of chicken cacciatore:

Pasta: Spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine are classic choices. The pasta helps soak up the rich sauce and creates a fulfilling meal.

Rice or Risotto: A side of plain or garlic rice can balance the bold flavors of the cacciatore. Risotto, especially a simple parmesan or mushroom risotto, can be a delightful accompaniment.

Crusty Bread: A slice of rustic Italian bread or a baguette is perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce.

Polenta: Creamy or grilled polenta provides a comforting base for the rich cacciatore sauce.

Mashed Potatoes: A bed of fluffy mashed potatoes can complement the saucy chicken dish.

Green Vegetables: Steamed or sautéed vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, or zucchini provide a refreshing contrast.

Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can offer a crisp and refreshing contrast to the hearty cacciatore.

Roasted or Steamed Vegetables: Think carrots, bell peppers, or Brussels sprouts for a side that complements the main dish's flavors.

Beans: Cannellini or borlotti beans, either stewed or in a salad, can add some protein and fiber to the meal.

Couscous or Quinoa: For a lighter alternative to rice or pasta, consider couscous or quinoa.

When serving chicken cacciatore, consider the balance of textures and flavors to create a well-rounded meal. For instance, if the cacciatore sauce is especially rich and heavy, opt for a lighter side like a green salad or steamed vegetables to balance out the meal.

What Is Chicken Called In Italy?

In Italy, chicken is called "pollo." If you're referring to a young chicken or a chick, it's called "pulcino." When ordering dishes in Italy, you'll often see "pollo" on the menu for dishes that contain chicken.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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