Chicken Cacciatore (Italian Hunter's Chicken)
Serves 4 to 5
It had been many years since I made chicken cacciatore and, when I wanted to make it again, I could not find the original recipe. After a little research, I decided to create my own version. It is so good and quite easy, requiring just a little preparation time. Serve for a family meal or casual entertaining with pasta or rice topped with some of the extra sauce.
- One whole chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces fresh cremini or button mushrooms, halved
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) whole tomatoes with juices, crushed with fingers
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram leaves
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional for serving)
Pat chicken dry. Dip in flour seasoned with salt and pepper; shake off excess. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken. Discard excess fat from skillet, leaving enough to cook the vegetables. Add the onions and peppers. Sauté about 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Sauté another 2 minutes. Pour in the marsala and bring to a boil to reduce and deglaze pan, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan with any accumulated juices. Add the tomatoes, herbs and more salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover partially and cook until chicken is tender, about 50 minutes. Serve the chicken topped with some of the sauce and sprinkled with the optional cheese.
Notes: If you prefer, use your favorite packaged chicken parts, such as thighs, rather than cutting up the whole bird.