Cacciatore is Italian for hunter. But whether chicken cacciatore was originally cooked by hunters who made good use of ingredients found in the forest or whether the hunters merely gathered the ingredients to hand them to cooks of rich families is anyone’s guess.
Historians agree on one thing though. Tomatoes weren’t originally an ingredient of the dish. That may sound strange considering that, today, you’ll hardly find chicken cacciatore without tomatoes in it.
- 1 kilogram chicken cut into serving-size pieces (see notes after the recipe)
- 1 tablespoon salt plus more, as needed (see notes after the recipe)
- ½ teaspoon pepper plus more, as needed
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup olive oil not extra virgin
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 large bell pepper diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups diced tomatoes fresh or canned, but please don’t use tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ cups white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons capers
- Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour; shake off the excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a large wide pan.
- Brown in the hot oil, turning to brown all sides evenly. You are NOT cooking it through at this point but merely browning the chicken to form a crust that, later, will really add so much texture to the cooked dish.
- Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Pour off the oil (strain so you can reuse it) leaving only two tablespoonfuls in the pan.
- Reheat the oil, add the chopped onion, garlic and oregano.
- Cook, stirring, for about a minute or until the onion pieces start to soften and turn translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and white wine. Stir.
- Add the bay leaves. Boil gently for about two minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir gently to coat each piece with sauce. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. I do not recommend any more stirring.
- When the sauce is thick, stir in the capers. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens some more and the mixture appears almost dry.
- Taste, add more salt and pepper, if needed (note though that if you seasoned your chicken well, there should be no need for additional salt and pepper as the white wine provides all the flavors the chicken needs).
- Chicken cacciatore goes well with crusty bread, rice or pasta.