Tag Archives: Cacciatore

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)

Technorati Tags: Recipes, Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore, Italian Recipes


Cacciatore Etymology and Vegetarians

I’m the type of person who’s bemused at vegetarians more than anything else. “To each their own” is the mantra I try to live by, even if “their own” means looking down at others who don’t ascribe to their philosophical beliefs about food.

But sometimes…sometimes they make me laugh out loud.

Take the simple idea of “cacciatore”. Most of us have a basic idea of what cacciatore means in the culinary sense. A meat of some sort, braised in a tomato sauce, mixed with variations of mushrooms, onions, various herbs and wine.

The word itself is a different matter. “Cacciatore” translates into “hunter”, meaning that when a dish is served cacciatore, it’s served in the “Hunters style”. Pollo Cacciatore (sometimes seen as pollo alla cacciatore) translates rougly to Hunters style Chicken. Coniglio Cacciatore means approximately “Hunters style rabbit”. You get the picture.

Presumably, the dish was served to game hunters in Italy, on those cold, brisk autumn days. After a day of being in the damp forest, shooting at local pheasants, boars, or other wild game, the hunters would sit down to a meal that would warm them up.

Which leads me to the following discoveries on the web…ladies and gentleman, I give to you…Tofu Cacciatore.

Hunters style tofu?? My mind reels at the incongruity. I’m sure that after a day of hunting in the forests of Umbria or Lombardy, many an Italian hunter, chilled from the damp November air, longed for a plate full of…bean curd.