By its name alone, you’d think that a dish called Chicken Cacciatore (or Hunter’s Chicken) would be all about, well, chicken – but it really isn’t. Indeed, the best part of this simple stew isn’t the chicken at all but the rich, thick tomato sauce that results from a long, slow simmer. The chicken certainly does its part to add some flavor and a bit of protein to the dish, but it’s that spicy, flavorful sauce that will keep you making this dish time and time again. The preparations for making our version of chicken cacciatore aren’t hard at all – you just need a little bit of time and a great big pot to cook in. This is one of those dishes that is as varied as the cooks that make it, but this is the version we like best.
Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- Four chicken thighs. It’s your choice whether or not you want the skin on them, but make sure you use thighs – they give the sauce its best flavor.
- 1 large can of good quality canned tomatoes (we prefer San Marzano). If using whole tomatoes, have some fun and squish them up good with your hands. If using diced, get petite diced.
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- Salt and Pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Salt and pepper the chicken and brown on both sides in the oil, cooking for around 5-7 minutes per side. While the chicken is cooking, cut the flour into the butter to form a paste and set aside. When chicken is browned, remove it to a platter and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil and add the onion and bell pepper. The water-heavy onions and peppers will serve to deglaze all the tasty brown chicken bits left in the bottom of the pan, so be sure to scrape the pan vigorously while they brown. Once the onions have become translucent and start to brown, add the chicken stock and wine and return to a boil. Add the crushed or diced tomatoes, paprika, and a dash more salt and pepper. Add the flour and butter paste, stirring until well-dissolved and mixed in. Add the chicken back to the pot and and bring it back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so – until the chicken is tender to the point of falling off the bone. Serve over rice – and enjoy!