What is Chicken Cacciatore?
Cacciatore is the Italian word for “Hunter” and when the term is used it basically refers to a food that is prepared “Hunter-Style” which means stewed with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs and often wine. In Italy this dish might be made with rabbit, but in the U.S. it is almost always made with chicken. It’s a dish that is enjoyed throughout all of Italy, especially central Italy.
What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore
Often cacciatore is served with noodles, such as egg noodles, fettuccine, and linguine. You can also think about potatoes (mashed, steamed or roasted) gnocchi, polenta or rice. Make sure you have something to soak up all of the delicious cacciatore sauce. I went flying into the direction of mashed potatoes for these photos, because pretty much whenever it’s a real choice of starches, mashed potatoes win with my crew.
Wine in Chicken Cacciatore
I like a dry red wine in this, and most things I cook that include red wine. And the same wine you use to cook the chicken will also be the perfect pairing for the dish. Many wines will be terrific choices: pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, or a Shiraz are some options. This is a good question to ask of the person who works at your local wine store.
Chicken Cacciatore: Tender chicken stewed with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs and red wine is one of the most comforting cold weather dinners ever.Tweet This
You can make the chicken cacciatore up to 4 days ahead of time (providing the chicken you use is quite fresh) and reheat it slowly on the stove or in the oven.
How to Make Chicken Cacciatore
The one thing that I never loved about chicken cacciatore was the fact that the skin-on chicken often added a lot of fat to the sauce, and sometimes it could get greasy. Plus, the skin usually loses whatever crispness it has once it continues cooking in the sauce. But – browning chicken pieces with their skin on not only adds flavor to the chicken, but creates a wonderful base flavor layer for the whole dish as the chicken sizzles in its own fat.
Cook’s Illustrated offered a terrific solution in their cookbook The Best Recipe. The chicken is browned with the skin on, but then the skin is removed from the chicken before the chicken continues cooking in the sauce. The fat and flavor from the skin isn’t lost, but there is no soft chicken skin to contend with, and no greasiness to the sauce. My overall recipe is different from theirs, but I definitely borrowed that smart technique.
Using Leftover Chicken Skin
Don’t throw out that partially crisped skin! You should add extra chicken skin, crispy or not, to any chicken or poultry stock you are making….even it’s from a rotisserie chicken. If you keep a freezer proof zipper close baggie in the freezer you can add bits of trimmed chicken and skin to the bag as you cook, and when the bag is full, or you are making stock anyway, just add the assortment of bits and pieces to enrich your stock. Even if you end up skimming fat from the final stock, it’s still a nice way to bump up the flavor of the broth.
Other Chicken Dinner Recipes:
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- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 ½ to 3 pounds)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion , halved and sliced
- 1 bell pepper , any color, cored and sliced
- 8 ounces sliced button or cremini mushrooms or diced portobellos
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry red wine
- ½ cup less-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley , divided
- Cooked pasta, rice, polenta or mashed potatoes to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add half of the chicken, skin side down, and let cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes until the skin has become crispy and browned. Flip the chicken and cook for 5 more minutes, until the underside is browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard or reserve it for stock (see Note).
- Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pot, and return the pot to medium high heat. Add the onion, pepper, and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 8 minutes until the vegetables start to brown, and any liquid that is released has evaporated. Add the garlic and stir for one more minute until you can smell the garlic. Add the flour and stir for a minute until well combined. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the bottom to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir in half the parsley.
- Add the chicken to the pot, tucking the chicken into the sauce so that it is at least mostly submerged. Bring to a simmer and then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve the chicken in a shallow serving bowl with the vegetables and sauce, sprinkled with the remaining parsley. Serve with the starch of choice, if desired.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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