Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. Thus, chicken cacciatore means chicken that is prepared hunter style. This classic of the Italian cuisine is made by braising chicken pieces with aromatic herbs and vegetables in tomato sauce. It is comfort food for Italians and it is usually served with polenta, rice or mashed potato.
- 6 chicken bone-in thighs
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, freshly ground
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 red bell pepper, cored seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strip
Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces in flour, coating them lightly and tapping off excess flour. In a wide braising pan, heat the olive oil until a piece of chicken dipped in the oil gives off a very lively sizzle. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pan as will fit without touching. If skillet is not wide enough to fit all of the chicken, brown it in batches. Remove the chicken from the skillet as it browns. When all the chicken has been removed, add the onions in the pan and cook until soft and transparent, stirring. Add the peppers and cook them until soften and all the liquid has been evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes and oregano, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken to the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle boil and add mushrooms. Cover the pan and cook, stirring a few times, 40 minutes. Check the level of the liquid as the chicken cooks. There should be enough liquid to barely cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks.
Serve warm with rice, mashed potatoes or polenta.