Chicken Cacciatore is a delicious Italian dish that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s fresh, flavorful, and easy to make—and it will have you coming back for more!
Simple Chicken Cacciatore with Rich Tomato Sauce
Chicken Cacciatore, also known as “Hunter’s Chicken,” is a classic Italian dish that features tender, slow-cooked chicken in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce.
The dish is traditionally made with a combination of onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tomatoes, which are simmered together with the chicken until the flavors meld beautifully. This hearty and satisfying meal is often served with pasta, polenta, or crusty bread, making it a perfect comfort food for family dinners and gatherings.
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
So, what is Chicken Cacciatore, you ask? Well, it’s an Italian classic featuring tender, juicy chicken pieces simmered in a luscious tomato sauce infused with herbs, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. The best part? The sauce gets richer and more robust as it cooks, making it the perfect dish to serve over pasta Spaghetti or with some crusty bread to mop up all that deliciousness.
Chicken cacciatore ingredients
- Chicken: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks are ideal for this dish. They’re flavorful, tender, and hold up well during the cooking process. The skin also adds texture, crisping up nicely as it browns.
- Salt and black pepper: Essential for seasoning the chicken and enhancing the overall flavor of the dish. Freshly ground black pepper adds a touch of heat and complexity.
- Olive oil: A staple in Italian cooking, olive oil is used for browning the chicken and sautéing the vegetables. It adds richness and depth to the dish.
- Onion: Adds a mild, sweet flavor to the sauce, contributing to its aromatic base.
- Bell peppers: Adds a touch of sweetness and a subtle tang to the dish, complementing the rich tomato sauce.
- Garlic: A must-have for any Italian dish, garlic adds a bold, pungent flavor that works perfectly with the other ingredients.
- Dry red wine: Used for deglazing the pot and adding depth to the sauce.
- Diced tomatoes: The backbone of the sauce, crushed tomatoes create a rich and thick base that envelops the chicken and vegetables.
- Chicken broth: Adds moisture and depth to the sauce, helping to create the perfect consistency.
- Thyme: This herb brings a fragrant, earthy flavor that complements the tomato sauce and chicken.
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional): For those who like a little heat, adding crushed red pepper flakes can spice up the dish without overpowering the other flavors.
- Bay leaf: A subtle but essential addition, the bay leaf imparts a slightly sweet, herbal note to the sauce.
- Mushrooms: These earthy, meaty mushrooms absorb the flavors of the sauce and add a delicious, savory element to the dish.
- Fresh parsley: Bright, fresh parsley adds a pop of color and a burst of herbaceous flavor, balancing out the richness of the sauce.
- Olives or capers: Adds a burst of brightness and contrast to the dish, cutting through the richness of the tomato sauce.
How to cook Chicken Cacciatore
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, then lightly coat in flour.
- Heat oil in a skillet and sear chicken for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
- Cook onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes, In the same skillet, then add garlic for 1 minute.
- Deglaze with white wine and cook until reduced.
- Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes.
- Return chicken to skillet, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add olives and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, stir in olives or capers, adjust seasoning, and garnish with parsley or basil.
- Serve over pasta or with crusty bread.
Chicken Cacciatore pairs exceptionally well with various side dishes that complement its flavors and textures. Some popular options include:
- Crusty Italian bread: Perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce and adding a satisfying crunch to the meal.
- Polenta: A creamy, cornmeal-based side that offers a rich and comforting accompaniment to the chicken.
- Pasta: Egg noodles or spaghetti are excellent choices to serve alongside the Chicken Cacciatore, as they absorb the sauce and mingle well with the dish’s flavors.
- Mashed potatoes: A classic choice for a heartier meal, mashed potatoes provide a creamy and delicious base for the saucy chicken.
- Steamed or roasted vegetables: Enhance the meal’s nutritional value by adding a side of steamed or roasted seasonal vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good wine to use in Chicken Cacciatore?
Chicken Cacciatore pairs nicely with both red and white wines, such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Primitivo, and Vermentino. Ultimately, selecting the ideal wine relies on individual taste and the unique flavor profile of the specific Chicken Cacciatore recipe prepared.
How long does chicken cacciatore last in the refrigerator?
This simple chicken cacciatore recipe lasts up to 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
What is the best way to reheat chicken cacciatore?
You can reheat this chicken cacciatore over a stovetop or microwave. Both methods are great for reheating the boneless chicken cacciatore recipe. Reheat the medium-low heat over the stovetop and microwave until it is well steamed. In addition, you can reheat it in the oven at about 350 degrees F. Of all the options, the stovetop is my go-to option for reheating this recipe because it doesn’t dry it out.
What is a cacciatore sauce made of?
The cacciatore sauce is a versatile sauce made with tomato sauce as a base. It features aromatics and healthy vegetables to create a robust and savory masterpiece.
Storage tips for leftovers
To properly store leftovers and ensure they remain fresh and safe to consume, follow these useful storage tips:
- Cool down: Allow the leftovers to cool down to room temperature within two hours of cooking. This helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Use airtight containers: Transfer the leftovers into airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to keep the food fresh and prevent cross-contamination.
- Portioning: Divide large portions of leftovers into smaller, shallow containers to allow for quicker and more even cooling.
- Refrigerate or freeze: Store the leftovers in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within 3-4 days, or freeze them for longer storage. Make sure your refrigerator maintains a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below, while the freezer should be at 0°F (-18°C) or below.
Other Delicious Chicken Recipes You may like:
- Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
- Delicious And Easy Marry Me Chicken
- Easy Spatchcock Chicken
- Homemade Chicken And Rice Soup
- Brown Stew Chicken
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
- 3 chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 3 chicken drumsticks bone-in, skin-on
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup all-purpose flour for dredging
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced into ¼ inch slice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 8 sprigs thyme
- red pepper flakes optional
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup black olives pitted or 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil for garnish
- Season the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Lightly coat the chicken pieces in flour.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Place the chicken pieces in the pan and sear both sides for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet, transfer to a plate and set aside. Do not overcrowd. Cook in batches if necessary.
- In the same pot, add the onion, bell peppers, and mushroom. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened and slightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Add the white wine and deglaze the pan by scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, diced tomato (with their juice), broth, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, add crushed red pepper flakes.
- Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low, and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken falls off the bone and the sauce thickens to your liking. Add the olives and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf and stir in the olives or capers. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper, if necessary.
- Garnish with parsley or basil and serve over your choice of cooked pasta or with crusty bread for soaking up the rich tomato sauce.
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