In Italian, “cacciatore” means “hunter,” so Chicken Cacciatore is a chicken prepared hunter’s way. The whole idea of this dish is to brown the chicken pieces, then simmer them in a mixture of vegetables.
Chicken Cacciatore recipes differ depending which region of Italy they are from. In the South, red wine is more popular in this dish, while in the Northern Italy, white wine is preferred. Each family might also bring something different to the recipe, but three key ingredients remain unchanged in the stew: tomatoes, onions and aromatic herbs. Sweet peppers are often added to the chicken.
The dish is very simple, but very elegant and full of flavors. In Italy, it is served with a slice of good Italian bread and/or pasta. I have no doubt that Chicken Cacciatore served over rice or mashed potato will be delicious as well. As for me, I like to serve this chicken with polenta, often using ready-made good quality Italian polenta from a grocery store or a supermarket. I brown thick slices of polenta in a little olive oil, transfer it to a plate, pour the sauce over the polenta and add a piece of chicken.
The sauce plays a major role in this wonderful dish. Chicken Cacciatore is so easy to prepare, so attractive and delicious that this Italian dish is becoming everybody’s favorite!
- 1 chicken (3-4 lb), cut into pieces (or any part of the chicken, I have 6 thighs on the bone)
- 1/3 – ½ cups flour
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil )
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large sweet pepper of any color, cut in chunks
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 can ( 450 g / 15 oz) tomatoes in juice, diced
- ½ cans water or more to taste (use can from tomatoes)
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
- 4 tbsp chopped green olives and / or 2-3 tablespoons capers
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cut chicken into 6-8 pieces, wash and dry with a paper towel. Season with salt, pepper, and dust with flour. Shake off any excess flour from chicken.
Heat the part of olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add the chicken pieces and fry them in a single layer over medium to high heat until brown on all sides. Remove the chicken, set aside on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chicken if needed.
In the same pot add the rest of the olive oil and sauté onions over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook about 30-45 seconds.
Add the peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, olives, capers, water, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil. Stir.
Add the browned chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken cooked through. (Cooking time may vary from 20 to 40 minutes). Check for liquid in the stew: maybe you need to add some water to the sauce during cooking.
The number of portions depends on the size of the chicken and how the chicken is cut (4-6- or 8 pieces).
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!