In our Dinner Planner kitchen, we love making Chicken Cacciatore—it’s a timeless favorite. Start with some tender chicken thigh pieces, tomatoes, and a medley of peppers, mushrooms and spices. Sauté them all together in a pot with some garlic and olive oil. Add a sprinkle of herbs and let it simmer. The flavors meld beautifully, creating a cozy, comforting dish that’s perfect for any day of the week.
Serve this Chicken Cacciatore up with spaghetti pasta and crusty bread, and you’ll have a delicious meal that warms the heart and fills the belly. Enjoy!
Whether you’re an experienced home chef or a novice in the kitchen, this dish’s timeless appeal and ease of preparation make it a go-to favorite for family dinners and special gatherings alike. So, roll up your sleeves, sharpen your appetite, and let’s embark on a culinary adventure to discover the magic of Chicken Cacciatore.
The origins of Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken Cacciatore, also known as “Pollo alla Cacciatora” in Italian, has its roots in the rustic countryside of Italy. The term “Cacciatore” translates to “hunter” in English, and the dish is believed to have been developed by Italian hunters who would cook their freshly caught game with local herbs and vegetables. Over time, the dish evolved to include chicken as a more readily available and affordable meat option.
Easy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
Chicken Cacciatore is a rustic and flavorful Italian dish sometimes referred to as “Hunter’s Stew”. Tender chicken simmered in tomato sauce, red wine, capers, vegetables, and seasonings is comfort food at its best; and just like spaghetti sauce, or pasta fagioli, every Italian family has its own version. Chicken thighs are recommended for their cost and flavor, but chicken breasts may be substituted if preferred.
Ingredients Needed For Easy Chicken Cacciatore:
- 6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs ( Can use boneless chicken breasts)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 14-oz. cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and halved
- 2-3 teaspoons capers
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
How to Make One-Pot Easy Chicken Cacciatore:
STEP 1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken thighs and sear on all sides until a golden crust forms, 4-5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
STEP 2. Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
STEP 3. In the same skillet, add onions and mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
STEP 4. Cook until the onions become translucent, and the mushrooms soften, approximately 4-5 minutes.
STEP 5. Add garlic and bell pepper and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
STEP 6. Add wine, crushed tomatoes with their juices, oregano, red pepper flakes, olives, and capers. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
STEP 7. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, approximately 30-35 minutes.
STEP 8. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Serve over cooked spaghetti. Enjoy!
Make this Timeless Classic of Easy Chicken Cacciatore the Whole Family Will Enjoy
- 6 medium bone-in skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms chopped
- 4 cloves cloves minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 14 oz. cans crushed tomatoes undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup black olives pitted and halved
- 2-3 teaspoons capers
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken thighs and sear on all sides until a golden crust forms, 4-5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
In the same skillet, add onions and mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cook until the onions become translucent, and the mushrooms soften, approximately 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic and bell pepper and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Add wine, crushed tomatoes with their juices, oregano, red pepper flakes, olives, and capers. Stir to combine.
Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.
Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, approximately 30-35 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve over cooked spaghetti or polenta.
Use Classic Ingredients
The key to creating an authentic Chicken Cacciatore lies in using the right ingredients. Here are the traditional components that make this dish truly special:
1. Chicken – Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces like thighs or drumsticks. The bones add depth of flavor to the sauce, while the skin helps keep the meat moist and tender.
2. Aromatics – Garlic and onions form the base of the sauce, providing a fragrant and savory foundation for the dish.
3. Herbs and Spices – Classic Italian herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano are essential for enhancing the flavors of Chicken Cacciatore. Additionally, a pinch of red pepper flakes adds a subtle kick to the dish.
4. Vegetables – Bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes are common vegetables used in Chicken Cacciatore. They provide a delightful combination of textures and flavors, complementing the chicken perfectly.
5. Tomato Sauce – A rich tomato sauce ties all the elements of Chicken Cacciatore together. Opt for high-quality canned tomatoes or make your own from fresh tomatoes for the best results.
Variations of Chicken Cacciatore
1. White Wine Chicken Cacciatore: Instead of using a tomato-based sauce, this variation incorporates white wine and chicken broth for a lighter and more delicate flavor profile.
2. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore: For those who prefer a hands-off cooking approach, the slow cooker method is a convenient option. Simply combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it simmer away until the chicken is tender and flavorful.
3. Vegetarian Chicken Cacciatore: For a meatless twist on this dish, substitute chicken with plant-based alternatives like tofu or seitan. The remaining ingredients and cooking process remain the same, resulting in a delicious vegetarian version.
Best Side Dishes for Easy Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken Cacciatore pairs well with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments.
- Pasta – Tossing the Chicken Cacciatore with your favorite pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, creates a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Creamy Polenta – The smooth and creamy texture of polenta is a perfect complement to the rich and robust flavors of Chicken Cacciatore.
- Crusty Bread – The flavorful sauce of Chicken Cacciatore begs to be soaked up with a slice of crusty bread. It’s perfect for mopping up every last drop.
- Roasted Vegetables – Serve the Chicken Cacciatore alongside a medley of roasted vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes, for a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
- Easy Caesar Salad Made in a Bag
Chicken Cacciatore not only delights the palate but also offers several health benefits:
1. Protein: Chicken is a lean source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
2. Vitamins and Minerals: The vegetables in Chicken Cacciatore provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.
3. Antioxidants: The combination of herbs, spices, and tomatoes in the sauce provides a good dose of antioxidants, which help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation.
4. Low in Fat: When prepared with skinless chicken and minimal added fats, Chicken Cacciatore is a relatively low-fat dish, making it a healthier choice compared to other meat-based recipes.
Conclusion and final thoughts
Can I use Boneless Chicken for this Chicken Cacciatore?
Yes, boneless chicken can be used, but keep in mind that the bones add flavor to the dish. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the chicken remains tender.
Can I make Chicken Cacciatore in advance?
Yes, Chicken Cacciatore tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Simply reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the oven before serving.
Can I freeze Chicken Cacciatore?
Absolutely! Chicken Cacciatore freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I use Different Vegetables in Chicken Cacciatore?
Certainly! Feel free to experiment with different vegetables based on your preference and what’s in season. Just ensure they are cooked until tender.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Cacciatore
Cool It Down – Allow the leftover Chicken Cacciatore to cool down to room temperature. Do not leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.
Portion It: – Divide the leftover Chicken Cacciatore into smaller, meal-sized portions. This makes it easier to reheat only what you need later on.
Refrigeration – If you plan to eat the leftovers within a few days, place the portions in airtight containers or resealable bags. Ensure the containers are designed for the fridge and have tight-fitting lids.
Freezing – If you want to store the leftovers for an extended period (up to 3 months), you can freeze them. Use airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers with the date and contents.
Thawing – When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen leftovers, transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before. Slow thawing in the fridge is the safest method. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this can lead to bacterial growth.
Reheating – Reheat the Chicken Cacciatore in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Stir occasionally to ensure even heating. You can add a splash of broth or water to maintain the sauce’s consistency if needed.
Serve Safely – Once reheated, serve your Chicken Cacciatore immediately and enjoy!
Remember that leftovers should be consumed within 3-4 days if stored in the refrigerator or within 3 months if frozen. Always use your best judgment and check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor or unusual texture, before consuming leftover food.
You Will Love Some Of Our Family Friendly Pasta Recipes: