What Are the Best Tips for Making Chicken Cacciatore?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Red bell peppers are a typical ingredient in chicken cacciatore.
Red bell peppers are a typical ingredient in chicken cacciatore.

Countless recipes for chicken cacciatore exist, from the very simple to the more complex. Before the cook sets out to make this delicious Italian dish, it is a good idea to settle on a recipe that includes all the elements that will be pleasing to the people eating the meal. Make sure the diners are not allergic to any of the ingredients in the dish, and try to choose fresh ingredients to ensure the best flavor. Whole, peeled tomatoes will be necessary to make chicken cacciatore, and the process of peeling tomatoes can be tedious. Canned whole, peeled tomatoes can be substituted if necessary.

Fresh basil leaves are often used to flavor chicken cacciatore.
Fresh basil leaves are often used to flavor chicken cacciatore.

Chicken cacciatore is a traditional Italian dish made in "the style of the hunter". Cacciatore translates to "hunter," in fact, and the traditional version of this dish includes mushrooms and onions. The dish has evolved quite a bit to include bell peppers and even a bit of wine; some versions include salami or pancetta. These accents can add to the overall flavor of the dish, but for the most traditional style, olive oil, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers will be the only necessary ingredients besides spices and chicken.

Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.
Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.

Many Italian chefs will make chicken cacciatore with chicken thighs, legs, and wings, while others prefer chicken breasts. Thighs, legs, and wings in the recipe will mean there will be bones. The simplest way to eat chicken cacciatore is with cut pieces of chicken breast, especially if any of the diners will be children. The meat on thighs, legs, and wings can fall off the bone during cooking, which means the bones may end up in the stew itself, presenting a potential choking hazard.

Salami is used in some versions of chicken cacciatore.
Salami is used in some versions of chicken cacciatore.

Browning the chicken ahead of time is a key step in making chicken cacciatore. Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the pieces of chicken, which can be seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. Remove the chicken pieces from the oil and use that oil as part of the stew in which the mushrooms, onions, peppers, and tomatoes will be added. The chicken can be added to the stew after it has had a chance to cook for a while. This allows the flavors of the stew broth to meld, with the chicken can be added for further flavor along with basil, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.

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    • Red bell peppers are a typical ingredient in chicken cacciatore.
      Red bell peppers are a typical ingredient in chicken cacciatore.
    • Fresh basil leaves are often used to flavor chicken cacciatore.
      Fresh basil leaves are often used to flavor chicken cacciatore.
    • Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.
      Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.
    • Salami is used in some versions of chicken cacciatore.
      Salami is used in some versions of chicken cacciatore.
    • When making chicken cacciatore, rub the chicken with spices before browning it.
      When making chicken cacciatore, rub the chicken with spices before browning it.