Pollo alla Cacciatore (Chicken Cacciatore)

Polla alla Cacciatore refers to a “Hunter’s style” chicken. It’s never been clear if the dish refers to the meal Italian hunters ate after they’ve brought home the game, or if it was the meal made while the hunter’s were out in the woods. Both are possible, just as it’s also possible the the recipe started with guinea hens, rather than the the chickens you and I know and love today.

I am a huge fan of this dish. There’s a nice brown crust on the chicken, and the braising of the meat makes the chicken so moist that it should be sinful. The broth was full of tomatoes, mushrooms and white wine, creating a earthy yet sweet tasting meal that made me a very happy person indeed. This isn’t a marinara style meal. It’s more of a stew/braised type of dish and should be treated as such.

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 chicken, cut into its requisite parts (Thighs, wings, etc)
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. shitake mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

Place one stock pan over medium heat. Add both vegetable and olive oils.

Salt and pepper the chicken parts liberally. Dredge the pieces in flour, coating them lightly and tapping off excess flour. Place in the stock pan, being careful not to place crowd the chicken pieces together (It’s okay to brown the chicken in batches). Brown the chicken on both sides and then remove and set aside on a plate for latter use.

Add the onions and garlic to the remaining oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil, allowing the wine to reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Afterwards, add the tomatoes and oregano, and return to a boil. Place the chicken in the pot, allow the broth to cover the chicken. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and toss until the peppers are just starting to lose their crunch. Season the vegetables with salt. Add to the broth and cover and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Check the level of the liquid as the chicken cooks. There should be enough liquid barely to cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks

(Serves 4)

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