Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. The Italian recipe is called this because in history people didn’t keep little recipe boxes like we do today. They cooked what they caught, and used what they had on hand to make it as hearty a dish as possible.
This is so typical in so many historical accounts of Italian recipes I come across. Today we take for granted the organized manner in which we put our meals together.
Isn’t Chicken Cacciatore a Difficult or Easy Italian Recipe?
Does this all mean that the recipe is complicated? No! The opposite! It means, you can be flexible – there is no wrong or right.
So many of us are working or dealing with other things that take up our time and then before we know it, it’s 5PM and where has the time gone? If we don’t have any leftovers, we struggle to put something together using what we have.
If you’re like me, I need a recipe to start.
And so it is with this recipe. A starting place for you. I refer to this recipe time and time again and I never have to sweat it because I remind myself to use whatever I have. Just start with the basics.
Do You Need to Start with a Whole Chicken?
With this recipe we use chicken parts. Whether you buy them already cut for you or you choose to do it yourself is your choice. Try your best to get organic chicken to avoid the antibiotics and other junk they feed them with.
You don’t need to have equal parts of the chicken – meaning (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, etc.). Don’t worry if they don’t have a whole chicken cut up in parts at the store. If all they have are legs and breasts, go with that if you want.
I recommend using a whole chicken so you get the different variety of parts, but go with what you have.
I’ve never tried this recipe with anything other than chicken, and frankly I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it with anything else but chicken. I’ve never seen veal cacciatore, or turkey cacciatore (that sounds awful). So I recommend sticking with best practices – chicken!
Final Recipe Thoughts about Chicken Cacciatore
The beauty with this recipe is the intoxicating aroma. Yeah, yeah, chicken always smells great but when you add in the vegetables and herbs I’ve included it just really comes to life.
It also tastes even better the next day if you have left overs. You’ll find this a lot with marinated type recipes like my chicken and olives recipe. I think the longer it sits in the marinate or juices it absorbs more flavor. Talk about making your co-workers jealous!
Okay, enough chatter…. here’s the recipe:
Easy Italian Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
A great simple and flexible Italian recipe for Chicken Cacciatore that tastes awesome! Great for leftovers too!
- 1 Whole chicken cut in pieces (2 legs, 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts)
- 1 bell pepper sliced green, yellow, orange, red or a mix will do
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 celery stalk sliced with leaves
- 3 crushed whole garlic
- 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 carrot stick sliced
- 1 TBLE capers rinsed
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 4 TBLE
Preheat oven to 375F
In large frying pan heat oil over medium heat
Add in chicken parts skin side down and brown for 5 minutes on each side.
Remove from pan and place in baking dish.
Pour other ingredients on top of the chicken pieces.
Drizzle a little olive oil on top of everything (about 4 Tablespoons).
Cover and bake for 1 hour, but uncover for the last 15 minutes.
Do not pour out the sauce which has accumulated in the baking pan. Pour it over the chicken when serving.
Serve with pasta or even potatoes. Salad and bread are good sides too.
Here are a few tips:
TIP #1: This is the type of recipe you can omit ingredients you don't like or have. For example, not all cacciatori recipes use carrots. I can go with or without personally. If you don't have basil flakes just use parsley or add a "little bit" of oregano.
TIP #2: If starting with a whole chicken, use the carcass to make your own chicken stock. You can even make the stock while waiting for the chicken to bake in the oven.
TIP #3: To reduce fat content, remove the skin prior to browning, but this may cause it dry out a bit more.