Alla Chicken Cacciatore

By Published On: May 12th, 2024Categories: Chicken0 Comments on Alla Chicken Cacciatore

“Hunter’s Style Chicken”

Literally translated, Cacciatore means ‘Hunter’. Add Alla Cacciatore and you have ‘Hunter’s style”. Many regions in Italy claim this dish as their own, but it is believed it originated in Tuscany. It generally consists of bone-in chicken, tomatoes, onions, herbs, vegetables and wine or vinegar.

Go to: https://cookwithcindy.com/2016/07/28/rabbitts-braised-rabbit-ragout/

I bet back in the day it was made with rabbit. The first dish I made when my husband and I were in Tuscany a few years back was a Rabbit Ragout; very similar to cacciatore. We stayed in the ancient and beautiful village of Castiglione tucked in the D’Orcia Valley. Our 18th century stone house was within walking distance to the village and there I found a whole fresh rabbit. I did not have a choice, but to use it for dinner that first night.

It was a wonderful welcome to Tuscany and those 2 weeks exploring food, wines, cheeses, history and gorgeous countryside were one of the best holidays Jerry and I have ever had!

Some Cacciatore recipes use multiple bell peppers: red, yellow, green. I prefer to use just green bell peppers. Other recipes call for mushrooms. I have never used mushrooms, but think a nice meaty, full flavored mushroom like Maiktake (Hen-of-the-Woods) would be a great addition. I’m not sure black olives would be traditional, but they sure do grow and eat a lot of beautifully brined olives in Italy and I like the saltiness they bring to the Cacciatore. I always use red wine and this time instead of onion I used shallots. I had fresh thyme, but no other fresh herbs so used 1 large tsp. of dried oregano. Fresh basil and fresh parsley are also a nice addition. I also added about 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes. Tomato paste helps thicken the sauce.

This humble stew goes together easily and is even better if you let it sit in the fridge for a day or two before doing the final slow cook. I needed it for dinner so prepared in the morning and let it sit for 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Start by browning the chicken. You can cut up a whole bird or use bone-in/skin-on breasts, but I think chicken thighs are the best, unless of course you find a nice fresh rabbit.

Generously salt and pepper the thighs and place in a very hot pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Brown on both sides and set chicken aside.

While the thighs are browning, cut up the shallots, green bell pepper, and garlic. Do not dice as you don’t want the veg to disappear or turn to mush as it will cook for 50-60 minutes more once you’ve assembled all the ingredients.

Add the shallots (or onion) and green pepper to the pan and cook until the shallots just start to get translucent; about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in 1/2 cup rich red wine to deglaze the pan. Stir to loosen any brown bits left from the chicken.

This does not have to be your most expensive bottle, but does need to have a robust flavor. Preferably it is a wine that you would drink. Yellow Tail Big, Bold, Red retails for around $6.00, but it is very drinkable and in fact, many years ago in doing a blind taste test of reds with our dear friend Dennis Makes, this wine won!

Simmer vigorously for about 15 minutes to start cooking off the wine. Next add a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes. I prefer the Cento San Marzano brand and like using whole tomatoes, rather than crushed. Smash the tomatoes was a spoon or rubber spatula to break up, but still leave in chunks. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste.

Add the oregano, fresh thyme, hot pepper flakes. Cover and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.

Finally add the chicken into the sauce and any juices that have accumulated and stir all together.  If the sauce seems too thick add either a little more red wine, water or chicken stock.

Cover and either place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight or cook right away on low simmer for about 50-60 minutes until the chicken falls off the bone or reads 165-170 degrees on your meat thermometer. Chicken thighs have a lot of muscle so a bit longer cooking can make them more tender. Low and slow is the secret here!

Cacciatore is great served with pasta, polenta, or risotto. A green salad and chunky hot Italian bread complete your meal!

BUON APPETITO!

Alla Chicken Cacciatore

Rich, robust Italian comfort food at its best!

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper to season chicken
  • 2 Lge. Shallots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 Lge. Green Bell pepper, seeds removed, rough chopped
  • 3 Lge. Garlic cloves, peeled, rough chopped
  • 1/3 cup Black Olives, pitted good quality Calamata
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 1 tsp. Oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flake
  • 1 28 oz. Tomatoes, canned
  • 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
  • Salt/pepper for overall seasoning of the sauce.

Instructions

  • Liberally salt and pepper both sides of chicken thighs. Bring 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to nearly smoking in a heavy bottom skillet. Brown the thighs on both sides and set aside.
  • Add the shallots and green pepper to the same pan and cook until the shallots just become translucent; about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup red wine to deglaze the pan, stirring up any bits of chicken left in the pan. Simmer for 15 more minutes to start reducing the wine.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, red pepper flake.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes with their juices and 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste, and the black olives. Stir well to combine all.
  • If the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little water, chicken stock or more red wine. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Cook the sauce for 30 minutes and then add the browned chicken.
  • Cover and cook at a low simmer for another 50 to 60 minutes until the chicken registers 165-170 on a meat thermometer.

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