Chicken Cacciatore: Hunter’s chicken stew; fabolous, rustic, simple and hearty Italian dish.
My grandmother used to prepare suppers for a group of Italian hunters after the hunting was done.
They would arrive in the countryside early in the morning with their hunting dogs, down Grappa and espresso, change their outfits and then go into the forest. At sunset, they would return and have a supper that always included Grandmother’s soup followed by Chicken Cacciatore and tagliatelle.
The Chicken Cacciatore ingredients were variable, as the vegetables depended on the season. The best flavours were released from the kitchen in the autumn, when mushrooms and vegetables were harvested to be canned for winter. There was abundance everywhere.
Dry red wine, Tomato Salsa and mushrooms are my personal must-includes. The rest is up to your own preferences. You can add vegetables, mediterranean spices or white wine, as you will. One tip: use the best wine you have, it is the key ingredient. Good wine makes this simple dish one of the best. It releases amazing flavours and turns the worst kitchen failure into heavenly fireworks.
Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- Salt to taste
- Smoked bacon sliced and chopped to taste
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 spring onions finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp tomato salsa
- 1 small peperoncino
- ½ bouillon cube
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 cup button mushrooms, whole (canned)
- 12 olives
- Pinch of rosemary and oregano
- ½ cup water
- Pinch of sugar
Salt the meat to taste.
In a skillet, fry the meat in butter until it turns golden on all sides (10 mins).
Add the bacon, garlic and spring onions and fry for 3 minutes.
Add wine, bouillon cube, water, tomato salsa and sugar and let it boil slowly for 15 minutes.
Add peperoncino, oregano, rosemary, mushrooms and olives and boil for another 5 minutes.
Serve garnished with pasta or gnocchi.