Chicken Cacciatore is the first main dish in Italian cuisine that I learned how to cook – first that is NOT pasta, that is. 😀 The first time I made it, I put red peppers in it. Apparently, that version of chicken cacciatore is from the northern part of Italy. When we were in Campania (southern region in Italy) back in 2014, I found out that they do the dish differently in that region. More rustic, I think. Up to this day, Campania’s is the only version of chicken cacciatore that I make regularly; I have grown to love how unbelievably simple and delicious it is.
Chicken cacciatore is a dish straight out of ‘cucina povera’, which literally means ‘cooking of the poor’ or ‘peasant cooking’. It also refers to a concept when people used whatever ingredients they have around. (Yep, kind of like our Monday night 😉). In Campania, their idea of enriching the meat is by using a lot of herbs and fresh tomatoes, and some homemade wine (of course!). 🙂 I can imagine back in the days, they even get the herbs and tomatoes from their own garden – absolutely just what they had on hand.
I do not like a ‘soupy’ cacciatore, so I do not use chicken or vegetable broth. The liquid is just from the fresh tomatoes, and the juices of the chicken once the wine has evaporated. No need to add anything else, the magic will just happen when the sauce thickens and the chicken meat starts falling off the bone.
- 3/4 to 1 kilo chicken, chopped into serving sizes
- salt and ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small red chili, sliced thinly
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 leaves dried bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 12 to 18 pieces of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a pan (or Dutch oven) and once ready, cook the seasoned chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides. Set aside.
Turn the stove into medium heat and add the onion, garlic, chili and herbs in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the browned chicken. Mix to combine.
Pour the wine in the pan. Turn up the heat and allow the wine to evaporate.
Add the cherry tomatoes, cover with a lid and let it boil.
Taste and season accordingly by adding salt and/or pepper.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer for around 45 minutes to an hour, until the chicken has completely cooked and the flesh is falling off the bone.
To serve: Drizzle more olive oil on top, if desired.