The word cacciatora means “huntsmen-style,” in Italian. According to Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari from the show Parks and Recreation, cacciatore is called “chickie catch.” Chef Todd English explains the original chicken cacciatore did not have tomatoes, but used only vinegar or wine, resulting in a darker sauce. Bobby Flay adds jalapeño, Emeril uses cremini mushrooms and only chicken thighs, and The Pioneer Woman uses turmeric and egg noodles. I suspect as long as the dish includes some combination of chicken, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and onions, everyone is headed in the right direction.
For me, chicken cacciatore is the perfect hearty dish on a chilly night. I load mine up with lots of colorful bell peppers, diced pancetta and hot cherry peppers. The pancetta adds a deeper, rich flavor, and the hot cherry peppers give it a major kick – we love that heat! It’s fun to peek around on the internet and see the different versions of cacciatore making their appearance online. We really enjoyed this 4plates2table huntsmen-style chicken. Don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients. This dish is easy to make and leftovers are super delicious, too.
INGREDIENTS (serves about 6)
- 3lbs bone-in chicken (combination of breasts and thighs)
- 1/3lb pancetta, diced (ask the deli to slice 3 – 1/4 inch slices)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced into half moons
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced in strips
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced in strips
- 16oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes, partially drained
- 2 tbsp capers, drained
- 1-2 tbsp jarred hot cherry peppers, chopped (more if you like it hot)
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- Few sprigs fresh thyme, bundled
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Wondra flour for dusting the chicken
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Dust with Wondra flour or regular flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan (6qt) over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Brown the chicken about 3-4 minutes per side and remove from the pan, set aside. Don’t overcrowd the pan, work in batches if necessary.
Add the diced pancetta to the same pan and sauté until it begins to crisp, remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and peppers and sauté until they begin to soften. Add in the mushrooms and sauté until they release their juices, scraping up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan as you go. Add the garlic, cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the hot cherry peppers, capers, wine and tomatoes. Stir well to combine.
Nestle the chicken pieces back into the pan. Toss in the crisp pancetta, thyme bundle, and chopped oregano. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with grated parmesan on the side.
* This would be delicious served over pasta, polenta or with just a rustic baguette on the side.