Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora in Italian) is the classic grandmother’s recipe, one of those slow preparations that fill the whole kitchen with aromas and warmth.
Like many of the most famous and well-known Italian dishes, chicken cacciatore is not hard to make, but you do need to know how to do the different steps.
What is Italian chicken cacciatore?
Chicken Cacciatore is a traditional Italian dish that consists of chicken pieces that have been browned and then simmered in a tomato-based sauce with onions, garlic, and a variety of aromatic vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives. The dish is finished with a tomato-based sauce and a sprinkle of parsley.
It is common practice to season the dish with herbs such as basil, oregano, and rosemary, and crusty Tuscan bread is frequently served alongside the dish.
It is thought that this dish evolved from the traditional hearty meals that were served by hunters in the countryside, hence the dish’s name, “cacciatore,” which literally translates to “hunter” in Italian.
The sauce is frequently made significantly thicker and is highly regarded for the powerful flavor and tasty quality it possesses.
So, we went to a great chef in Tuscany, Ms. Aurora Baccheschi Berti, and asked her for the recipe for chicken alla cacciatora. She has already made us happy several times with wonderful dishes that were cooked to perfection.
So it is with great pride that we are pleased to present to you, from the kitchens of the Vicarello Castle, the authentic recipe for chicken cacciatore, with advice, the preparation explained step by step, and the perfect wine to match!
Ingredients for the Italian chicken cacciatora (6 servings)
- 1 free-range chicken
- 200 grams of onion
- 200 g (7 oz/ generous 3/4 cup) tomato purée (passata)
- 120 grams of white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 150 grams of celery
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 40 grams of extra virgin olive oil
- 200 grams of black olives
- 400 grams of pickled onions, optional
How to make a perfect chicken cacciatora!
Cut the chicken into individual servings. Chop the parsley and rosemary leaves finely; thinly slice the celery and onion. Peel and squash the garlic clove by pressing down on it with the flat side of a knife blade.
Put the oil in a large frying pan and, over low heat, cook the onion and all the herbs except the bay leaf for ten minutes. When the onion is golden, add the chicken pieces and season. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning it frequently until brown.
Crumble the bay leaf and add it to the pan, cooking for a few more moments. Pour in the wine, raise the heat, and stir until it has evaporated completely. Add the tomato purée and black olives, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until the meat is tender (about 30 minutes for a supermarket chicken, as much as two hours for a free-range one).
This dish can be made with porcini (boletus) mushrooms too. Soak 50 g (1 3/4 oz) of dried mushrooms in warm water for one hour, and add to the recipe instead of the bay leaf. It’s delicious served with sweet and sour pickled onions or mashed potato.
The Chef Corner
We know you have a lot of questions about this famous Italian recipe, so we sent some of the most important ones to Ms. Aurora Baccheschi Berti, who was kind enough to give us excellent technical advice.
What cut of chicken is used in Chicken Cacciatore?
It’s typical to make this dish with chicken thighs or drumsticks, but you could also make it with boneless chicken breast or a combination of different types of chicken.
Can I substitute another type of meat for the chicken in the Chicken Cacciatore recipe?
Cacciatore de Pollo is a dish that is traditionally prepared with chicken; however, other variants of the dish may be prepared with other types of meat, such as rabbit or pork.
What vegetables are traditionally used in Chicken Cacciatore?
The Chicken Cacciatore recipe typically calls for a variety of vegetables, the most frequent of which being onions, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives. In some recipes, you could also find carrots or celery listed as an ingredient.
Is the Cacciatore spicy?
Although the level of heat in Chicken Cacciatore might vary from one recipe to the next, the meal is not often considered to be particularly spicy. In order to achieve the desired level of heat, certain recipes may require the use of red pepper flakes.
Is it possible to prepare Chicken Cacciatore in a slow cooker?
There is a possibility that Chicken Cacciatore could be prepared in a slow cooker. Before adding the chicken and veggies to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients, just brown the chicken in a skillet and sauté the vegetables. Cook over a very low heat for several hours, turning the heat up only when necessary, until the chicken is fork-tender.
What is the proper way to serve Chicken Cacciatore?
In most restaurants, Chicken Cacciatore is served crusty bread, both of which are meant to let the dish’s rich sauce be absorbed by the food. It is also sometimes served with risotto or mashed potatoes by certain folks. In Italy is never served with pasta, it’s a blasphemy!
Is it possible to prepare Chicken Cacciatore ahead of time?
It is possible to prepare Chicken Cacciatore ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator for several days, or even freeze it for later use. Just bring it back up to temperature in a pot set over low heat until it reaches the desired temperature.
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