Chicken Cacciatore is an Italian hunter’s stew made with fresh chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. The chicken is simmered slowly in a tomato broth, until fork tender and served over pasta, polenta or potatoes. What makes this dish spectacular this time of year is the warm comforting flavors that remind you of your favorite old school Italian restaurant.
My recipe is pretty traditional, except I use roasted tomatoes with green chilies for a little heat to enhance the sauce. The slow cooked chicken absorbs the tomato broth like a sponge and melts in your mouth like a piece of chocolate on a warm day. I think your Italian grandma would approve.
This recipe is great to make on the weekends, when you have a little time to let the chicken simmer for a while. You can also make this in your slow cooker, but be careful not to overcook it because it could turn into tomato chicken soup before you know it.
4 pound chicken, cut-up into 10 pieces
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
14 ounces roasted tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil, optional
1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and dried oregano. In an extra large saute pan, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place over medium high heat. When oil is lightly smoking, add chicken pieces and sear on first side for 4 minutes.
2. Flip chicken over and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and place in a dish, set aside. In same pan, add onion, mushrooms and red peppers, saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and stir to combine flavors.
3. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Place chicken back in pan and lower heat to simmer. Cover pan and cook for 1 1/4 hours, or until fork tender. Half way through cooking, add olives and stir – cover with lid.
4. Remove cooked chicken from sauce and place it on top of cooked pasta or potatoes. Turn heat to high and reduce sauce for 4 minutes. Ladle sauce over chicken pieces and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with fresh basil and serve family style at table. Enjoy!