Buongiorno! Today, this Chicken Cacciatore recipe from Luna will guarantee you a hearty, succulent home-cooked meal that comes together in just 30 minutes.
Alright, some time for small talk. I’m not sure about your place, but mine? The weather has been mostly clear, a bit chilly, some variable winds and this and that here in Georgia. Despite those, I still think I should start bracing myself for the upcoming brutally cold winter – it’s for sure that I won’t be going outside quite a lot. That just means I need a quality delicacy to soothe my Christmas soul – something that’s not too mediocre but doesn’t require the skills of a master chef.
That’s how this classic Italian poultry dish came to my kitchen.
What does Chicken Cacciatore mean?
The word “Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. Meanwhile, “Alla cacciatora”, which also is the original Italian name of Chicken Cacciatore, is a term referring to a hunter-style meal. Oh, that sounds so intense , I know. It’s ok, it’s simply a meal that’s prepared with meat (popularly braised chicken or rabbit), herbs, vegetables, onions, tomatoes, sometimes bell peppers, wild mushrooms and wine.
Coming from the field of Tuscany and Umbria, it is no surprise that this authentic Italian dish was built on what people could find back then – most commonly rabbit, wild animals and pheasant meat. In time, Alla Cacciatora kept it up with the cross-cultural craze of dining, and finally arrived in Western countries as Chicken Cacciatore.
What spices are in Chicken Cacciatore?
A mixture of yellow and red bell peppers, garlic, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, Italian seasoning and basil is all you need to add a nice texture and aroma to the Cacciatore sauce.
Also, I found that mushrooms work amazing in it, so to me, it’s totally a “should” to include mushrooms and if possible, olives and aromatics, as well. I believe that the piquancy of the olives would be no less flavorful for Chicken Cacciatore. Alas, I haven’t had my chance to try that yet. That being said, if you try it, please let me know how it tastes in the comments!
Additionally, marinara sauce or tomato sauce is often favored when you need the marinade to be thicker. Imagine what the soaked chicken pieces would be like after simmering in that – it would just melt into your mouth!
Thriven and thro, as I always say.
What wine goes with Chicken Cacciatore?
I’ve got to admit that I didn’t put authenticity first when I pulled out this recipe. Instead, I left the wine out and used only the juices from the chicken as the base for my cacciatore.
But, I suppose many of you would feel like you’re having a bad hair day if you sit down to a Cacciatore recipe with no wine. So, I’ll include some of my conclusions on this.
In Southern Italy, red wine is the most favored in use, while it’s usually dry white wine that’s preferred Northern Italy. To name a few:
- Red wine: Chianti Classico, Pinot Noir and Lambrusco.
- White wine: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
One last note: If you opt for wine, keep it in mind that alcohol will always dilute the sauce, so it’s better to be careful on the amount. You know what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What can you serve Chicken Cacciatore with?
Of course, it is indisputable that the blend of spices including garlic, bell peppers and Parmesan cheese support the flavor so well. But, know what else would go well with it? A bed of well-cooked pasta or rice for your cacciatore to rest on. If that’s not your suit – how does creamy mashed potatoes or polenta sound to you?
If you ask me about the quickest and easiest side options nearby, then I’d definitely say cauliflower rice and steamed vegetables (spinach, to be typical). Especially if you’re in a hurry for a hearty but tasty meal, all you need will be something vegetal – easily chopped, prepped and cooked through. Veggies are always the best choice to satisfy both the appetite and ‘healthy’ requirement, aren’t they?
Chicken Cacciatore recipe
For the chicken:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ yellow bell pepper
- 8 ounce mushrooms, sliced
- 15 ounce crushed tomatoes
- ¼ heavy cream
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Cook the chicken:
- Season the chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, cook the chicken meat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until it’s golden brown both sides. Transfer the meat to a plate, let sit.
Make the red creamy sauce:
- Sauté garlic, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and mushrooms on 1 tablespoon of olive oil until they’re tender.
- Continue to pour the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, chicken broth and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the mixture thickens.
- Return the chicken back to the skillet together with the sauce, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove the skillet from heat.
- Serve chicken cacciatore over hot pasta or rice. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or grated Parmesan cheese if desired.