Chicken Cacciatore

This is one of those old-world Italian classics. The ingredients in this dish are super simple, fresh, and bright. Although there are probably a million different variations of chicken cacciatore (spelled cacciatora in the recipe, I am not sure if that was intentional or not), there is just something so nostalgic about this recipe.

This recipe is in our family cookbook and comes from my great aunt Barbara. As you can see in the recipe, the directions can leave a lot to the imagination. Looking through some of our family’s old Italian recipes, I often wonder if it is some sort of sick game they played to leave out as much information as possible. They were also all the most incredible cooks, so maybe they didn’t need to document the instructions. Either way, I’ve include a little more detail in the written recipe below.

Buon appetito!

Original recipe from the family cookbook. My great aunt Barbara is in the lower left surrounded by some of her brothers, including my Bapa who is sitting next to her.

Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 frying chicken (I used 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 – 2″ cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 – 2″ cubes
  • No. 2 can (16 oz) whole peeled Italian Roma tomatoes, crush with your hands (they have more juice than the crushed tomatoes)
  • Oregano, basil, and fresh parsley to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan. An enameled cast iron pan works great for this!
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown both sides of the chicken in the frying pan. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sautee until golden brown.
  5. Add the bell peppers and crush the tomatoes into the pan with your hands (Be warned! This will be messy and tomato juice and seeds will fly everywhere).
  6. Add about a teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil and a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley. Add some more salt and pepper to taste. You may also want to add some red pepper flakes for some heat if you like.
  7. Place the chicken back in the pan and nestle it in the tomato sauce.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid, cracked just slightly. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Serve with pasta or rice of your choice and a sprinkle of parmesan. We used bucatini. Enjoy!

Brown the seasoned chicken in olive oil and then transfer to a plate.
Brown the onions and garlic in the same pan used to cook the chicken.
Add the chopped bell peppers to the pan.
Add the whole tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them to the pan. This is messy! Note the flying juice in the picture.
Add the basil, oregano, and parsley.
Add the chicken, cover, and let simmer for 45-60 minutes until you get a dish that looks like this.
Serve with pasta and parm! Enjoy!

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