The word cacciatore is the Italian word for hunter. Chicken cacciatore got its name from the rustic, “hunter-style” way this dish is prepared. Numerous versions exists all over Italy, from the southern region using red wine as opposed to the northern region which tend to use white wine instead. To compliment the rustic nature of this dish, we served it with sourdough bread with molasses and sunflower seeds.
This dish is very simple to make, but to make it exceptional, you have to use a proper homemade stock.
Ingredients for the cacciatore
- 1 whole chicken (will be used for the dish and the stock)
- 400g tinned, diced tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- 100g fine (French) green beans, cleaned and chopped in 2cm pieces
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 table celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 250ml red wine
- 1/2 Tbsp peppercorns, crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 handful of thyme, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1 handful of origanum, stems removed and finely chopped
- 12 olives
- Olive oil for frying
Ingredients for the stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 3 allspice berries
- 3 cloves
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50ml course salt
- 1,5l water
Use a whole chicken and cut it into, wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts and the back. Debone the breasts. Remove the skin from the breasts, thighs and drumsticks. For the cacciatore you will use the breasts, thighs and drumsticks; and for the stock you will use the skin, wings (cut at the joints) and the rest of the carcass cut into smaller pieces.
Brown the chicken pieces meant for the stock in a medium casserole. Add all the ingredients of the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low, and reduce the liquid with a 1/3 stirring now and then. This could take anything from 60 to 90 minutes. Wait for the stock to cool down a bit and strain before it is completely cold. Discard the solids and keep the liquid.
Heat a pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces meant for the dish and then remove them. Add the thyme, origanum and bay leaves and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the celery, onions, carrot and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, stock, anchovy fillets, wine, peppercorns and turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer for at least 90 minutes. Keep the lid off.
Add the chicken back into the pot with the beans and the peppers and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add the olives and remove the pot from the heat. Let it “rest” for 15 minutes.
Putting it together
We served this with a homemade sourdough bread, but any rustic starch will do. And don’t forget about the wine. We enjoyed this with a unwooded Pinot Noir of Haute Cabrière which was slightly chilled.