Chicken Cacciatore is a wonderful Italian dish that we absolutely love. It is one of the first elaborate recipes I made when I started cooking. My original comment was: “it takes some time but it is worth it!” as a reminder note next to the recipe.
It is an equivalent to the french Poulet Chasseur or Coq au Vin.
The chicken is cooked in white wine and tomato sauce, with hearty mushroom and pancetta notes and fresh herbs of course! It is rich and flavorful.
My husband finds this recipe fabulous, the kids enjoy it and I don’t mind making an extra “dose” because the leftovers are as good. On the first day I usually serve this dish with potato mousseline or potato gratin. After dinner, I debone the chicken (and discard the skin) leaving the meat pieces and the sauce in a smaller pot. A couple of days later, the leftovers make great pasta sauce!
You can quickly reheat the chicken cacciatore while the pasta is cooking. Dinner will be served under 15 minutes. We can all use some delicious shortcuts from time to time :)
recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 big onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
250 g (9 oz) pancetta, finely chopped
300 g (10 ½ oz) mushrooms, finely chopped
4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in*
4 chicken drumstick, skin on, bone in*
1 bottle of white wine (750 ml)
2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
600 g (1 lb 3 oz) canned diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon cassonade or granulated sugar
4 fresh oregano sprigs
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need on big pot with a lid and one baking sheet lined with paper towel.
In a large pot heat the olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and put them skin side down in the hot pot. Let them sear until lightly golden, turn them and sear the other side. Work in batches if the pot does not hold all the chicken pieces in one layer (it is important not to overcrowd the pot because you are looking for a nice sear). Once the chicken is golden, remove it from the pot and let it rest on the baking sheet lined with paper towel; it will drain out the fat excess. Set aside. (This step is to sear the chicken only. It will have the opportunity to cook through later on in the recipe.)
Remove all the rendered fat from the pot but 1 tablespoon. On medium-low heat, add the onions, garlic and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the pancetta and mushrooms, mix well and let it cook for 5 additional minutes until the mushrooms start releasing their water. Increase the heat to medium and let the liquids evaporate slightly, mixing from time to time. Pour the white wine and increase the heat to medium-high until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the diced tomatoes, the chicken broth, the sugar, herbs and bay leaf. Correct seasoning, mix well and add the chicken pieces in that sauce. Cover and let it cook on medium-low heat for 1 hour until the chicken is completely cooked through and all the flavors developed.**
Serve hot with pasta, white rice, polenta, steamed potatoes or potato mousseline...
*or you can also use 4 whole chicken legs (skin on, bone in)
** Tip to skim the fat off: If you prepare this dish a day in advance cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. The fat should be solid enough to be easily removed from the top with a spoon and discarded; don’t remove everything though! Leave just a little bit for the taste. This is a very useful technique when preparing rich dishes like this chicken cacciatore or the boeuf bourguignon.