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Flavorful, robust and foolproof, Chicken Cacciatore!
Really great authentic Italian Chicken Cacciatore!
Terrific hunter-style 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.
Classic Chicken Cacciatore 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, authentic Italian 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 Artisan bread.
Many Chicken Cacciatore recipes call for assorted chicken pieces
We’ve found that using similar sized chicken pieces makes this dish a lot easier to cook, perfectly. No worries about undercooked chicken breasts or overcooked legs. For this recipe we start with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
Chicken thighs are tender, juicy and considered the most flavorful part of the chicken. If you prefer white meat, use all chicken breasts but be sure to add a little extra time to ensure they’re cooked through.
PRO TIP: Brown the chicken skin to build flavor
Since we don’t care for soggy chicken skin, it’s removed and discarded once browned in the first step of the recipe. This is such a simple but effective step that makes all the difference in the flavor of the sauce and tender juiciness of the chicken.
Overview of ingredients:
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or chicken breasts
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- mushrooms – any small, fresh mushroom will do like button or cremini mushrooms
- crushed red pepper flakes – for an extra zing in the sauce
- all-purpose flour
- dry white wine – for deglazing the pan and building flavor in the sauce. Any dry white wine will do. If you like to drink it, use it in this sauce. If you don’t want to use wine, substitute with chicken broth
- canned diced tomatoes – do not drain
- tomato paste
- bay leaves
- Parmesan rind – for adding flavor and body to the sauce. Parmesan rinds can be purchased in the cheese department at any large grocery store.
- fresh thyme leaves – or dried thyme
- oregano – fresh or dried
- red bell pepper
- fresh chopped parsley
- hot cooked spaghetti, polenta or your favorite pasta
- crusty bread to sop up the sauce
Overview: how to make Chicken Cacciatore
1. First cook the chicken
Season the chicken then cook in a hot skillet until the skin is crisp and well-browned. Turn and continue cooking for another 5-minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
2. Build the sauce
Next, add the onions and mushrooms to the pan drippings and cook until browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant. Add flour and cook for another minute.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, thyme, oregano and red bell pepper.
3. Return the chicken to the pan
Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and discard. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning and remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves. Add salt or pepper as needed.
Serve over hot cooked spaghetti or polenta garnished with parsley. This chicken stew is also great served with zucchini noodles for a low-carb option. Enjoy!
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- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (about 8)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional - more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes do not drain
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 small Parmesan rind
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 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 continue 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.
- You can purchase Parmesan rinds in the cheese section of most grocery stores.
The BEST Chicken Cacciatore recipe you can make at home
This is an outstanding recipe for Chicken Cacciatore loaded with sweet red bell pepper, fresh herbs, tomatoes, wine and plenty of mushrooms.
Make it an Italian themed dinner party and serve Chicken Cacciatore with a nice crisp green salad and our creamy Italian Dressing Recipe loaded with fresh and dried herbs, Parmesan cheese, shallots and garlic.
Finally, don’t forget to wrap up this luscious Italian themed meal with our Classic Tiramisu Recipe. It’s so good and easy to make, too! Perfect for company as you can make it a day ahead.