Chicken Cacciatore {recipe} – Dinner Winner

chicken cacciatore recipe

{image via instagram. follow: The Delicious}

Apparently, October 15, along with being every American tax paying procrastinator’s nightmare, is National Chicken Cacciatore Day. Finish your taxes, then make this Chicken Cacciatore.

I don’t remember when, where, or how I ever had Chicken Cacciatore when I was little. There is no way that my mother, back when we were living in Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, would have ever made something so non-Korean, so non-processed. I can only assume that Chicken Cacciatore was offered at some point either for elementary school lunch when it wasn’t Salisbury steak or straw hats, or as a Lean Cuisine, which I ate on the daily during the last half of my high school career when I was a cheerleaner.


That’s what I said.

(Patience, friends, someday I will come fully out of the pantry where all my disordered eating skeletons have been quietly rattling for the last idontknowhowmany years! But not today.)

Or this could be all in my mind and I’ve never actually eaten Chicken Cacciatore at all and only think I did because I saw some commercial for it during those hours upon impressionable hours in front of the TV — Chicken Cacciatore was an Applebee’s special or a new Chicken Tonight flavor.

Ok, if that is true, HOW SCARY IS THAT? I know you’re singing the song right now.

Whether you can go out to a restaurant and order it, whether you microwave a box of questionable carcinogenicty, whether you go semi-ho-made and slather jarred sauce all over your plump skinless breasts, you should make Chicken Cacciatore from scratch at least once in your life so you can confirm that you do in fact know what it should taste like, which is chicken in a rich wine and tomato sauce base, making it sort of an Italian tomato-based version of French Coq au Vin.

The Italian word “cacciatore” translates to “hunter” in English, so the dish has something to do with hunting, which makes no sense because who the hell goes out hunting for chicken? The most reasonable explanation for the name is that whatever rabbits, pheasants or other game animals a hunter caught and brought home for the day were prepared in this particular “cacciatore” way. When the hunter in your house comes back at the end of the day with no rabbits or pheasants or whatever for dinner, you call him a loser, then use a chicken.

Or you heat up a Lean Cuisine.

There are hundreds of recipes for Chicken Cacciatore on the internet, but in essence, it comes down to cutting up a whole chicken, dredging the pieces with flour for texture, browning the chicken pieces, adding aromatics, vegetables (onions, garlic, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, depends), and herbs (bay, oregano, rosemary, depends), deglazing with wine (red or white), adding canned tomatoes and braising for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender. I made mine based on Lidia’s and Marcella’s recipes, mostly just leaving out the whole flour-coating thing.

Chicken Cacciatore {recipe}


2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
1 3 – 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (10 pieces if you cut each breast in half)
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 carrot, cut on bias into ½-inch wide pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¾ cup red wine (you can also use white!)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
water or light chicken, if needed
chopped fresh parsley and basil for garnish


Heat grapeseed oil in a large saucepan (that has a lid, for later) over medium-high heat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper (generously!). Brown chicken pieces all over by placing chicken pieces in pan skin side down first, browning, then turning over. It will take about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Turn down heat under saucepan to medium. Add garlic, onions, rosemary, and oregano to pan and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and bell peppers and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and stir to scrape up browned bits from bottom of the saucepan. Turn up heat if necessary to bring wine to a simmer. Add tomatoes to the pan and stir. Taste and season; you will need to add about a teaspoon of salt and 5 – 6 turns on a pepper mill. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer.

Place chicken pieces back into pan skin side up in the sauce, and pour any juices from the plate into the saucepan. Cover the sauce pan with a lid, with a little space for steam to escape. Cook until chicken is tender, about 40 minutes. Every once in a while, check inside and if there isn’t enough braising liquid, add a little bit of water or light chicken stock.

You can transfer the chicken and sauce to a serving platter with high-ish sides or serve it right from the pan. Garnish with chopped parsley and basil.

I served my Chicken Cacciatore with steamed quinoa.

{100 Posts in 100 Days, no. 007}

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Oui, Chef March 24, 2014 at 8:08 am

Call him a loser and cook up a chicken….you kill me!


2 TheDelicious March 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

oui, chef! thanks for the comment. i think you’re the only person who reads ;)


3 Teacherofkids May 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Wow, what a post, very spicy. I am definitely into the chicken cacciatore and I am going to give your recipe a go. We are going to do it the southern Italian style a wil be using a good amount of red wine in the sauce. We are doing a chicken thing for a dieting group and will give your recipe a go.


4 Monkey June 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm

looks delicious! One tip: please add a “print recipe” tab to your recipes for easier printing!


5 TheDelicious June 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm

thanks, monkey! will add a print button! (thanks for the tip!)


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