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Flavorful, robust and foolproof, Chicken Cacciatore!
Really great Chicken Cacciatore!
Great Chicken Cacciatore is one of the most satisfying, delicious and comforting Italian dishes you can make at home.
Flavorful, rich, earthy and hearty are just a few of the characteristics that come to mind when describing this rustic dish. Often served with spaghetti or over polenta, there’s no way you won’t love this amazing braised skillet chicken.
There’s something about this classic Chicken Cacciatore that triggers warm and fuzzy memories for me.
It reminds me of good times and the warmth of family, and it also gives me great anticipation for dinner. I have great memories of my mom’s sister, June with her fabulous Chicken Cacciatore. Some people have signature go-to dishes, you know, something they can make with eyes closed. Aunt June could make Chicken Cacciatore like nobody else in our family.
She and Uncle Ralph could also make some seriously eye-popping homemade egg nog, but that’s another story.
I’ve had Aunt June’s recipe in my little index box for years, and years, and made it more times than I can count. But over time I’ve tweaked it and loved it into the slightly different version shared here today. The only thing I need now is a big hunk of crusty bread.
Many Chicken Cacciatore recipes call for assorted chicken pieces, but I use all chicken thighs in my recipe.
In my opinion, using similar sized chicken pieces makes this dish a lot easier to cook perfectly. No worries about undercooked breasts or overcooked legs. For this recipe I start with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
However, since I really don’t care for soggy chicken skin, the skin is removed and discarded once browned in the first step of the recipe. It’s such a simple but effective step that makes all the difference in the flavor of the sauce and tender juiciness of the chicken.
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- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (about 8)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 small Parmesan rind
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large red bell pepper ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- Heat a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add half the chicken and cook, skin side down, until crisp and browned. Turn the pieces over and cook another 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and continue browning in small batches until all chicken is browned. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the pan.
- Add the onions, mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the pan with the reserved drippings. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables begin to brown and the moisture evaporates.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and continuing cooking and stirring for 1 more minute. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, thyme, oregano and red bell pepper.
- Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Add the skinless chicken pieces to the pan, pressing them down into the sauce so they are covered. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is tender, about 40-45 minutes. Halfway through cooking, move the chicken pieces around and/or turn them over to ensure even cooking.
- Remove the bay leaves and Parmesan rind and discard. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley leaves. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti or polenta.
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