I first tried Chicken Cacciatore many years ago, as a student. It was one of the first Italian dishes my Dad really enjoyed eating (he was less adventurous back in the day, thinking Italian food meant lots of cheese LOL!) and I’ve always looked for it on the menu at Italian restaurants. Unfortunately, it is not something easily found here.
One day, I told myself that if I wanted to eat it, I jolly well had to learn to cook it myself! So I did!
I looked around for a recipe, and there are a million and one on the internet. But I picked the one from Serious Eats, because it looked the easiest, with the fewest ingredients. I have since cooked this many times, with great success every time, and it’s now my signature dish! 😀 If you ever eat at Chez PB, odds are I’ll pull this trick out of my culinary repertoire LOL 😀
I hosted a New Year lunch with my friends this year, and instead of ordering in fast food, as we have been doing for the past 7 years, I decided to cook my Chicken Cacciatore dish. It turned into a mini pot luck, and was a lot of fun, and I might even say, delicious! 😀 So, let me share it with you.
Chicken Cacciatore is a rustic Italian dish, loosely translated as Hunter’s Chicken, as it would be something you’d cook out on a hunt or in the wild. It is slow-cooked with bone-in chicken pieces, in a tomato sauce, and it is the slow-cooking that brings out the flavour and helps meld all the different flavours.
As I said, I picked this recipe, because it called for the fewest ingredients. But I’ve since learned that I can easily jazz it up or bulk it up.
Cooking this for a pot-luck is perfect, because you can cook it the day before, and just heat it up on the day you are serving it. It even tastes better the next day, as the flavours really blend and infuse into the chicken.
I also like to add some extra vegetables like courgettes (zucchini) or carrots just before serving, for an extra serving of vege. Use hard vegetables, as leafy vegetables will not be as tasty. Adding them just before serving, instead of during cooking, will ensure that your vegetables do not become too soft.
Serve with pasta or potatoes or just with some crusty bread. It keeps well too. I usually cook up a large pot, then freeze them into individual portions. It makes for a quick, hearty, delicious meal on days when you don’t feel like cooking 🙂
Here’s my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore.
This is a very easy chicken dish that uses few ingredients but packs maximum flavour! It is a personal favourite!
- 6 pieces Chicken legs, bone-in, skin on. Separate drumsticks and thighs You can use all drumsticks or all thighs if you prefer but adjust number of pieces accordingly
- 2 tins Peeled or Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 large yellow onion , thinly sliced
- 2 Bell Peppers (Capsicum), Red and/or Yellow
- 5 cloves Garlic, diced
- 2 Bay Leaf
- 3 sprigs Fresh rosemary (optional)
- 300 ml Chicken stock or just water if stock is not available
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3-4 tbsp Olive Oil for frying
Preheat oven to 180°C
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or high-sided pot. When hot, place chicken pieces skin side down and fry for a few minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. Work in batches so you don't over-crowd your pot. Place browned chicken pieces aside.
In the same pot, fry onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened.
Add tinned tomatoes (break up the whole tomatoes) and bring to a simmer. Add stock or water, bay leaf and rosemary. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Return chicken pieces and any juices to the tomato mixture, and nestle chicken pieces in the tomato mixture.
Place pot uncovered into oven for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked. Any exposed chicken skin will crisp and brown which is lovely, and the sauce will thicken a little. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze into individual portions.
Do let me know if you decide to try this. The oven really does most of the work, so you can kick back and chill once the pot goes into the oven. I also don’t eat bell peppers or capsicum usually (I can’t seem to digest it in raw or stir-fried form) but when cooked down this way, I love it and can eat it! Also, don’t ever skimp on the bell peppers – it adds a beautiful smoky flavour to the dish.
If you don’t have an oven, I reckon you can cook this down on the stove for about the same time. Put it on a very low fire, with the cover on, so it slowly cooks the chicken and allows the flavours to blend and meld together.
I’ve even added a little kick to the sauce with a few dashes of sriracha sauce. It is nice. Adds a lovely spicy kick to the dish that might suit those who prefer something with a kick of spice 🙂
Do you enjoy eating chicken cacciatore? Will you try making this?
I might try another recipe in future. But nothing beats this one for ease. Maybe it’ll be your signature dish too! 😉