Chicken cacciatore (or cacciatoro) is a classic Italian dish made in one pan with tomatoes, onions and more. This is what the Italians refer to as cooking alla cacciatora/hunter style and it’s so delicious you really must try it.
What’s to love about this chicken recipe
- This chicken cacciatore is a one-pot wonder and saves on the washing up!
- Packed with amazing flavours it’ll transport you straight to Italy, in your mind and taste buds at least.
- Chicken is such an economical meat so this cacciatore is good value
- Most of the ingredients for this Italian hunter’s chicken dish are store cupboard basics
I love chicken. It’s a healthy, low-fat meat that is quick to cook and takes on flavour beautifully.
Chicken can be a quick midweek meal for one person or all the family. Or it can become a full-on feast for family and friends.
It is one of the most versatile of meats and inexpensive too. Do please try to use free-range chicken.
Ingredients for easy chicken cacciatore
Chicken – I have used full chicken leg portions for my Italian chicken recipe. However, you could use chicken thighs or breasts too.
Soffritto – This is that great triumvirate of vegetables that make up almost every Italian sauce – onion, carrot and celery.
Mushrooms – I’ve used button mushrooms but use whatever type of mushrooms you like. The mushrooms add texture as well as flavour to this chicken cacciatore recipe.
Garlic – now what Mediterranean dish would be seen without garlic. This powerful ingredient adds punch to your Italian hunter stle chicken.
Olives – Flavour all the way and Mediterranean too.
Tinned tomatoes – you want good quality tinned tomatoes to crerate this easy Italian chicken in tomato sauce dish.
Liquid – chicken stock and white wine.
Pancetta – this adds extra flavour and really helps the chicken to sing in this Italian recipe. You can use some snipped up bacon instead if that is all you have to hand.
Flavourings – Balsamic vinegar and herbs.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
If you don’t have any dry white wine you can use dry vermouth instead. Actually I always keep a bottle of both dry and sweet vermouth for using in my cooking instead of wine.
If using dried herbs use half the quantity to fresh herbs. Herbs become stronger in flavour as they are dried.
Use pitted olives for this recipe, please. Nobody wants a dentist’s bill for a cracked tooth on an olive stone!
Always use good quality tinned tomatoes. There is a big difference in flavour between bargain tinned toms and quality branded tomatoes. This is a case of getting what you pay for. personally I like those canned cherry tomatoes as they have lots of faboul flavour, just what you want for your chicken cacciatore dish.
What does hunter style chicken mean?
One-pot cooking is often referred to as cooking hunter style. Think about it. When you are out hunting and living in the wilds you won’t have a lot of pans to cook with.
Don’t you just love one-pan cooking? Being able to bring together a great meal without using the entire arsenal of cookware in the kitchen. It’s less hassle and way less washing up, result!
This chicken cacciatore is basically the Italian version of the French chicken chasseur and our own hunter’s chicken.
Here is my own Hunter’s Chicken recipe and still a family favourite and the Spanish version of this dish, Basque Chicken (poulet basquaise).
How to make chicken cacciatore
The first thing to do is sear that chicken. This helps to lock in all that marvellous flavour.
Simply heat a heavy-based pan and coat with olive oil. Sear the chicken pieces on both sides till golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Now we want to build the flavour base for this classic Italian chicken dish. The all-important rich and aromatic tomato sauce.
The soffritto base of onion, celery and carrot are a magical mixture that add a depth and flavour that you just won’t get with onions alone.
Add the carrot, onion and celery to the pan and saute along with the pancetta for 5 minutes.
Making the tomato sauce
Now add the garlic and the mushrooms for just a minute.
Return the seared chicken to the pan and add the tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, wine, stock, herbs and seasoning.
Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Toss in the olives and cook for a further 10 minutes uncovered.
This allows the sauce to reduce and become even richer. By now the chicken is juicy and succulent and cooked through.
What to serve with chicken cacciatore
You can serve this Italian rustic chicken dish with anything from pasta to mashed potatoes.
Or why not try it with polenta, gnocchi or rice.
I like to serve my Italian hunter’s chicken just with crusty bread to mop up that rich and delicious tomato sauce. And a green salad on the side.
How many does this Italian chicken serve?
This hunters chicken recipe is for two people. To make more simply double the recipe up to suit the number you are catering for.
Using chicken leftovers
If you have any leftovers of cacciatore just pop them in the fridge and they will be even tastier reheated the next day.
Freezing chicken cacciatore
You can freeze this Italian chicken in tomato sauce dish for up to 3 months. Just defrost thoroughly and make sure to serve it piping hot.
Looking for more delicious chicken dishes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Quick roast chicken traybake with chickpeas and lemon
Thai green chicken curry with coconut rice
Basque chicken (poulet basquaise)
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Chicken Cacciatore (Italian hunter’s chicken)
- 650 g chicken 2 chicken leg quarters or 4 thighs with skin on
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 stick celery diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 60 g pancetta or lardons chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced minced
- 70 g button mushrooms sliced sliced
- 50 ml dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 400 g tinned tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp rosemary chopped
- 1/2 tbsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 75 ml chicken stock
- 70 g black olives pitted
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- sear the chicken on both sides till golden brown and remove from pan
- add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta to the pan and saute for 5 minutes
- add garlic and mushrooms for 1 minute
- return chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes, herbs, balsamic vinegar, sugar, wine, stock and seasoning
- bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes
- add the olives and cook for a further 10 minutes uncovered to allow the sauce to reduce
- test the chicken is cooked through by piercing with a skewer or point of a knife, it should be succulent and tender. Serve sprinkled with parsley
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