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Restaurant-Quality Chicken Cacciatore at Home


 
There's something about Chicken Cacciatore that makes you feel like you're dining in an Italian grandma's rustic kitchen—the kind laden with wafting aromas of simmering tomatoes and fresh herbs. A hearty, soul-warming dish, Chicken Cacciatore combines tender chicken thighs with a vibrant medley of vegetables and herbs, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s the kind of meal that’s not only comforting but also packed with flavor, making it perfect for a cozy family dinner or a laid-back gathering with friends.

This recipe simplifies the classic without sacrificing any of the traditional flavors. We’re talking juicy chicken, sweet bell peppers, earthy mushrooms, and a tangy tomato base, finished with a splash of red wine for a little extra depth. Let’s dive into the cooking process, designed to make this dish as straightforward and fuss-free as possible. Whether you choose to cook it on the stove or let the oven do the work, the end result is delicious. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (add more if needed)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 10 oz (300g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons each of freshly chopped parsley and basil, more for garnishing
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 28 oz (820g) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 oz (200g) Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Season & Sear: Liberally season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, roughly 30 seconds.

  2. Veggie Time: Toss in the yellow and red bell peppers, carrot, and mushrooms, and sauté together with the thyme, basil, parsley, and oregano for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies just start to soften.

  3. Chicken Back In: Add the chicken thighs back to the skillet, searing on both sides until golden. Shuffle the veggies occasionally so they cook evenly and don't stick to the pan.

  4. Deglaze: Pour in the red wine, letting it simmer and reduce slightly, about 5-6 minutes.

  5. Tomato Everything: Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Roma tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed.

  6. Cook it Your Way:

    • On the Stove: Mix well, reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and let it simmer gently. Stir occasionally, until the chicken is tender and about to fall off the bone (about 30-40 minutes). Add the olives during the last 10 minutes.
    • In the Oven: If you prefer, transfer your skillet (covered) into a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve: Garnish with more fresh parsley and serve your Chicken Cacciatore hot from the stove or oven. It pairs beautifully with some crusty bread, over pasta, or with a side of roasted potatoes.

There you have it—Chicken Cacciatore simplified but still packed with all the robust flavors you’d expect from this beloved Italian classic. Enjoy the cooking journey and the delicious feast that awaits at the end!

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