Chicken Cacciatore is seasoned chicken thighs nestled and cooked in a tomato-based sauce full of herbs and vegetables.
Cacciatore is an Italian word for ‘hunter’. Alla cacciatore means ‘hunter-style meal’, a meal prepared with vegetables and herbs, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is usually served with chicken or rabbit, and in this recipe, I went with chicken thighs.
CHICKEN CACCIATORE INGREDIENTS
There are quite a few variations to this classic Italian recipe. You can always add a little more spice to the recipe, or bulk it up with more vegetables. The two parts to this recipe are the chicken and the sauce.
Chicken Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Olive oil
- Chicken thighs (You could also use chicken breasts.)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Dry white wine
- Red bell pepper
- Baby bella mushrooms
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh oregano
- Chicken broth
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Drained capers
- Fresh parsley
PREPARING THE CHICKEN
The first thing to do in this recipe is to sear the seasoned chicken thighs. Heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. While the oil is heating up, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook it for 3-4 minutes. It will not be fully cooked, but transfer it to a plate and tent it to keep the chicken warm while you make the sauce.
HOW TO MAKE THE SAUCE
This Cacciatore sauce is tomato-based and full of vegetables and herbs. Using the same skillet as you cooked the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-high. Pour in the wine and let it heat up, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add in the onion, red pepper, mushrooms, carrot, and fresh herbs, cooking until the onions and peppers are tender (about 4 minutes).
Next, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, or just until you get that wonderful garlic aroma. Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and capers. Stir it all together and bring the sauce to a simmer. Nestle the chicken thighs into the sauce, cover the skillet, and let it all simmer for 15-20 minutes.
You will know it’s done when the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender. You can always check to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F. Garnish with fresh parsley. If you are not into the idea of serving it over pasta, serve it with a side of mashed potatoes and some rustic bread.
NO WHITE WINE?
Just in case you prefer not to cook with white wine or don’t have any on hand, you can substitute with chicken broth. You could also go with red wine for its flavor, but neither has to be fancy or expensive. You can also substitute with apple cider vinegar or vegetable broth.
CAN I MAKE CHICKEN CACCIATORE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! This dish can be prepared the day before and stored in the refrigerator. Simply heat up the dish in the oven when you are ready to serve it.
To freeze it, follow all the cooking instructions up until you nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce. Let the sauce cool down before you add the chicken. Then, store the meal in a freezer-safe zipped bag making sure to label and date the bag. It will last up to three months in the freezer. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating it up on the stovetop over low heat.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 skinless bone-in chicken thighs, washed and patted dry
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 cup chicken broth
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons drained capers
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
In a large cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat, add oil.
While the oil is heating, season chicken with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and add to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes or until golden brown (chicken will not be cooked through yet). Transfer to a plate and tent to keep warm.
Reduce skillet heat to medium.
Remove pan from the heat and pour in the white wine. Place pan back on the heat and gently scrape the bottom of the pan (loosening any brown bits from the pan).
Add the onion, diced red bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onions and peppers are tender.
Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and capers, and stir until well combined.
Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Nestle chicken thighs back into the sauce.
Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The chicken should be fall-off-the-bone tender. (The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165°F when fully cooked.)
Garnish with fresh parsley.