Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)

Chicken cacciatore, an Italian hunter-style chicken braised in a tomato-based sauce with onions, garlic, and white wine.

Chicken Cacciatore
Elise Bauer

Chicken cacciatore is an Italian dish of chicken braised in a tomato-based sauce and often includes wild mushrooms. It is frequently referred to as "hunter style" as the word cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian.

Why "hunter" style? One story is that if a hunter came home empty-handed, his wife would kill a chicken for the meal instead.

Chicken Cacciatore
Elise Bauer

When I first experimented with this recipe, I made it without mushrooms or bell peppers, which are often included in chicken cacciatore. Since then, I've come to enjoy the dish with mushrooms and bell peppers so have updated the recipe to reflect those additions.

If you prefer it without one or both of these ingredients, please feel free to leave them out. Many people also add green olives or capers which would be great additions as well.

Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 70 mins
Total Time 80 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

This recipe calls for added wine, which is traditional. It does add to the flavor. If you have a dietary restriction that prohibits wine, just omit.

Ingredients

  • One 4 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces, trimmed of excess fat (or 3 1/2 to 4 pounds of chicken thighs, bone in, skin on)

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced root to tip, about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 red or green bell pepper, seeded, sliced into 1/4-inch wide slices

  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup white or red wine

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups peeled and chopped, firm ripe tomatoes, with their juices,  or 1 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes in their juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

  • 1 teaspoon oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped)

Method

  1. Brown the chicken:

    Rinse chicken and pat dry. Season the chicken pieces on all sides with salt. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

    Working in batches so that you don't crowd the pan, place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan. Cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes, then turn over and lightly brown the other side.

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    Elise Bauer
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    Elise Bauer

    Remove chicken to a bowl, set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. If you have less than 2 Tbsp of fat in the pan, add more olive oil until you have about that much oil coating the pan.

  2. Sauté the onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic:

    Add the sliced onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high.

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    Elise Bauer
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    Elise Bauer

    Cook until the onions are translucent, and the mushrooms have given up most of their moisture, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

    Add the garlic to the pan and cook a minute more.

  3. Deglaze pan with wine, add tomatoes, spices:

    Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes.

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    Elise Bauer
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    Elise Bauer

    Stir in the pepper, thyme, oregano, and about a teaspoon of salt. Test and taste to adjust. Simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes.

  4. Add chicken back to pan, partially cover, cook until tender:

    Place the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes and onions, skin side up. Lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid slightly ajar.

    Cook the chicken on a low simmer, turning and basting from time to time. Cook until the thighs are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

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    Elise Bauer
Chicken Cacciatore
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
773 Calories
44g Fat
13g Carbs
75g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 773
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 57%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 284mg 95%
Sodium 321mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 75g
Vitamin C 30mg 150%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1139mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.