Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore)

Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken cacciatore) is a cozy Italian one-pot chicken stew cooked in a rich tomato sauce with veggies and fresh herbs.

Pollo alla cacciatora (hunter’s style chicken), often called chicken cacciatore, is a traditional Italian one-pot chicken dish.

The cacciatore sauce is a rustic tomato sauce, with veggie fresh herbs and olives, slowly cooked until perfection. The chicken is quickly seared in the pan, then is cooked with the sauce.

This rustic chicken stew is full of flavor and can be made on the stove or in the oven. Either way, it makes a wonderful weeknight dinner your whole family will love.

If you’re looking for an easy dinner meal that it’s sure to please both grown-ups and kids, this traditional chicken cacciatore is a winner for sure!

pollo alla cacciatora in a casserole dish.
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WHY DO THEY CALL IT CHICKEN CACCIATORE?

The origins of the Chicken Cacciatore lie in Tuscany. The word “cacciatore” means hunter in Italian, and indeed, hunters were the first who ate this dish.

In fact, this dish was originally prepared with rabbit and other wild game, and not with chicken.

Through the centuries it developed into the dish we all know and enjoy today, and every family prepares it according to its own version, handed down from generation to generation. 

I grew up in Italy with my mum’s pollo alla cacciatora, and she follows the traditional Tuscan recipe, and that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today.

The authentic chicken cacciatore is a chicken casserole dish made with vegetables and chicken thighs and legs.

Then the flavor builds on by adding fresh herbs, garlic, tomatoes, olives and white wine (or red wine).

The chicken is slow-cooked until tender, then served with rustic bread, roasted potatoes, or a large colorful salad.

POLLO ALLA CACCIATORA INGREDIENTS

Just like most Italian recipes, to make pollo alla cacciatora, you’ll need very few simple ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

pollo alla cacciatora ingredients: chicken legs and thighs, soffritto, fresh herbs, black olives, white wine, garlic, canned tomatoes.
  • Chicken: I use skin-on bone-in chicken legs and thighs, you can also use just one of the two if you like or a whole chicken.
  • Soffritto: the base for many Italian dishes (such as bolognese sauce), soffritto is a mix of finely chopped celery, onion, and carrot.
  • Fresh herbs: I use rosemary and thyme finely chopped, and I also add a bay leaf, as the traditional recipe calls, but feel free to play with your favorite herbs.
  • Olives: use pitted or unpitted black olives or green olives. Some popular Italian olives that work well in this dish are Nocellara, Taggiasca, Gaeta or Cerignola olives.
  • Tomatoes: I use whole peeled plum tomatoes, but if you don’t want tomato chunks in your sauce, you can also use passata or rustic passata.
  • Wine: it adds a nice depth of flavor to the sauce, you can use a good white or red wine. You can also substitute it with chicken or vegetable stock if necessary.
  • Garlic: It’s not necessary, but garlic adds extra flavor. To make it lighter, you can leave it whole and discard it before serving.

VARIATIONS

  • Bell pepper: add chopped yellow or red bell peppers for extra flavor.
  • Mushrooms: feel free to add chopped mushrooms for extra flavor.
  • Rabbit: coniglio alla cacciatora (rabbit cacciatore) is equally popular in Italy, so feel free to give it a try if you like.

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN CACCIATORE

This one-pot chicken cacciatore is really easy to make! From start to finish it will take just about 1 hour to make. Here’s the step-by-step recipe:

Scroll until the end of the post for the full printable recipe

collage of four images showing the four steps for the chicken cacciatore recipe.

STEP 1 – Stir-fry the soffritto.

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pan and stir-fry the veggies until softened.

STEP 2 – Add the chicken.

Push the veggies around the sides of the pan, add the chicken legs and thighs, and let them sear well on all sides, then pour in the wine and cook until evaporated.

STEP 3 – Add herbs and tomatoes.

Add in the fresh herbs, olives and tomatoes. Season, cover with a lid, and let the chicken cook for about 50 minutes, adding vegetable stock whenever necessary.

STEP 4 – Season and serve.

Remove the pan from the heat, season with freshly-cracked black pepper and fresh parsley, and serve straight away with your favorite side dishes.

one-pot chicken cacciatore.

CHICKEN CACCIATORE TIPS

  • I prefer cooking chicken cacciatore on the stove because it makes the meat softer and more succulent while in the oven it tends to dry out more.
  • I like to leave the skin on but removing the skin makes the dish lighter.
  • If you don’t like whole canned tomatoes, you can substitute them with passata.
  • You can also make chicken cacciatore without tomatoes and replace them with a little chicken broth.
  • Add a ladle of chicken or vegetable broth if the chicken dries out whilst it cooks.

STORAGE TIPS

Store leftovers in an airtight container, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days.

RECIPE FAQs

Can I use skinless boneless chicken thighs or legs?

Yes, absolutely! Just follow the recipe, and reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes.

What is the best way to reheat chicken cacciatore?

Place leftovers in an oven-proof dish, cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a preheated oven to 340 F/ 170 C for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN CACCIATORE?

Chicken cacciatore is a well-balanced meal and we often eat it simply with grilled ciabatta bread on the side.

If you want to serve it with some extra veggies here are a few recommendations:

  • Extra veggies: grilled zucchini, eggplant or bell peppers make a great side dish for this chicken dish. Sauteed veggies of your choice would also work great!
pollo alla cacciatora in a casserole dish.

DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!

Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!

📖 RECIPE

pollo alla cacciatora in a casserole dish.

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5 from 2 votes

Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken cacciatore) is a cozy Italian one-pot chicken stew cooked in a rich tomato sauce with veggies and fresh herbs.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Total Time55 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Italian

Serving: 4

Calories: 644kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon black olives
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, (14 oz/400 g can)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Finely chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole pan over low to medium heat. Add the vegetables and garlic, and cook, stirring often until softened.

  • Push the vegetables around the sides of the pan and pour the remaining olive oil the center of the pan. Arrange the chicken legs and thighs in the pan so that they do not overlap one another. Let them brown for a few minutes on all sides, then pour the wine in and continue to cook until evaporated.

  • Add in the chopped fresh herbs, bay leaf, olives and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover with a lid, and let the chicken cook for about 50 minutes over medium low heat, adding a ladle of vegetable stock or warm water whenever necessary.

  • Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.

Notes

  • I prefer cooking chicken cacciatore on the stove because it makes the meat softer and more succulent while in the oven it tends to dry out more.

  • I like to leave the skin on but removing the skin makes the dish lighter.

  • If you don’t like whole canned tomatoes, you can substitute them with passata.

  • You can also make chicken cacciatore without tomatoes and replace them with a little chicken broth.

  • Add a ladle of chicken or vegetable broth if the chicken dries out whilst it cooks.

Nutrition

Calories: 644kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 600mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2895IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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