Delicious Chicken Cacciatore: An Italian Classic

Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish that's hearty and full of flavor. "Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian, and this dish is traditionally made with chicken that's braised in a rich tomato sauce with vegetables, herbs, and sometimes wine. It's perfect for a cozy dinner and pairs wonderfully with spaghetti or polenta. Here’s how you can make this delicious meal at home.

This dish is incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit your tastes. You can add more vegetables like carrots and celery, or even throw in some olives for a briny kick. The key to a great Chicken Cacciatore is allowing the chicken to slowly braise in the sauce, absorbing all the flavors and becoming tender and juicy. It's a one-pot meal that's as comforting as it is delicious.

Making Chicken Cacciatore at home is not only rewarding but also surprisingly easy. The ingredients are simple and likely already in your pantry. Combining fresh vegetables, herbs, and a touch of wine creates a deeply flavorful sauce that perfectly complements the chicken. This dish is also great for meal prep, as the flavors only improve with time.


- 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 8 pieces)

- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- Salt and pepper, to taste

- 1 large onion, finely chopped

- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

- 3 garlic cloves, chopped

- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

- 1 cup dry white wine

- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

- 2 tablespoons tomato paste

- 3 bay leaves

- 1 small Parmesan rind

- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

- 1 teaspoon dried oregano

- 1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped


1. Prepare and Brown the Chicken

   Heat a large Dutch oven or deep pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add half of the chicken pieces to the pan, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is crisp and browned, about 5-7 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining pieces. Leave about 1 tablespoon of drippings in the pan.

2. Cook the Vegetables

   Add the chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, and a pinch of salt to the pan with the drippings. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables begin to brown and their moisture evaporates about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, sautéing until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Build the Sauce

   Stir in the flour and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the white wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then, add the diced tomatoes (with their juice), tomato paste, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, thyme, oregano, and chopped red bell pepper. Mix well to combine.

4. Simmer the Chicken

   Remove the skin from the browned chicken thighs and discard it. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, pressing them into the sauce so they are submerged. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. About halfway through cooking, stir the chicken pieces and turn them over to ensure even cooking.

5. Finish and Serve

   Once the chicken is cooked through and tender, remove the bay leaves and Parmesan rind and discard them. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve the Chicken Cacciatore over spaghetti or hot-cooked polenta for a complete meal.

Chicken Cacciatore is a dish that brings warmth and comfort to the table, perfect for sharing with family and friends. The rich and savory flavors meld together beautifully, creating a meal that feels both hearty and satisfying. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is straightforward and delivers impressive results every time.

This dish also offers great versatility when it comes to leftovers. The flavors continue to develop and deepen, making it an excellent option for meal prep. Simply reheat and enjoy a delicious and comforting meal any day of the week. Plus, it's a fantastic way to impress guests without spending hours in the kitchen.

Recipe Notes:

- You can find Parmesan rinds in the cheese section of most grocery stores. They add a deep, savory flavor to the sauce.

- This dish can be made ahead and tastes even better the next day, as the flavors continue to meld.

Enjoy your homemade Chicken Cacciatore!