You'll love this hearty, rustic chicken cacciatore recipe with mushrooms and bell peppers in a flavorful tomato sauce. Fall apart tender chicken with all the comforting aromtics and Italian flavors the family loves. And you can make it stovetop or in your crockpot!
Be sure to watch the video below for how to make it.
When my family is in the mood for comfort food, I know it's time for something Italian. It could be anythying from a simple pasta with my homemade spagetti sauce, meatball soup, eggplant lasagna, or something for a lazy night like sheetpan chicken sausage and peppers.
But especially during the cooler months, I love to serve something rustic, extra saucy, stewed to tender perfection, like today's chicken cacciatore recipe! Add a side of crusty bread and call it good.
What is chicken cacciatore?
"Cacciatore" actually translates from Italian to "hunter." And chicken cacciatore is a rustic, hunter-style braised chicken with onions, herbs, tomatoes, and sometimes chopped vegetables.
It is one of those classics my Italian-American friends grew up with. And true to hunter-style cooking, almost every household has their own version of it. This is because you are meant to use what chicken (or rabbit), herbs and other items you have on hand to create this comforting one-pot meal.
Aside from the chicken, the basic ingredients in chicken cacciatore are: onions, herbs, tomatoes and sometimes mushrooms. Some variations will call for carrots and celery, while others call for bell peppers or other vegetables. Some even flavor the tomato sauce with anchovies, which I haven't tried yet.
Here's what's in this recipe:
I went with a combination of onions, bell peppers and mushrooms in this easy recipe. Here's what I used:
- Chicken. For the comforting, rustic finish it's best to use bone-in, skin on chicken pieces. I used 6 chicken thighs, but a combination of chicken thighs, legs, or breast will work (I would divide the breast into smaller pieces for even cooking).
- Extra virgin olive oil for browning the chicken.
- Vegetables & Aromatics: onions, celery, bell peppers (I used ½ red bell pepper and ½ green bell pepper, but any combination will work), garlic.
- Mushrooms. I keep things simple here by using either baby bella or white mushrooms (about 8 ounces), nothing fancy.
- Herbs and Spices. A combination of dry oregno with fresh thyme and parsley. A pinch of red pepper flakes, if you like a little heat (I think it adds something special)
- Red wine for the sauce. 1 cup of any dry red wine that you like, it does not need to be expensive.
- Crushed tomatoes from a 28-ounce can.
How to make chicken cacciatore
You'll need a big deep pan or braising pot with a lid for this stovetop recipe. Here's the step-by-step tutorial (scroll down for the print-friendly recipe and video):
- Season and brown the chicken. Give the chicken pieces a good sprinkle of extra virign olive oil (and get underneath the skin). In a large pan or braiser with a lid (I used this All- Clad One<- affiliate link), heat up some extra virgin olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides over medium-high heat (start with skin side down first). You might utlize a splatter screen for this part (affiliate link). Set the chicken aside for now so you can use the pan for the veggies and sauce.
- Cook the vegetables and mushrooms. Return the pan or braiser back to the heat. Now cook the onions, celery, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic, over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and add in the herbs and spices ( 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 tabelspoons fresh parsley, a pinch of red pepper flakes). Toss the veggies around until they soften nicely. Add in the garlic and cook a little bit more.
- Make the sauce. To the vegetables, now add the red wine and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce. Add the crushed tomatoes and let the sauce bubble gently for a bit (another 10 minutes or so).
- Add the chicken and cook. Nestle the chicken in the sauce and cook over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to tender perfection! Add a little garnish of parsley if you like.
Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore
If you want to make this chicken cacciatore recipe in your slow cooker, here is what you do:
- Brown the chicken in the extra virgin olive oil. Once browned, transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
- Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, mushroom and garlic on top of the chicken. Season with kosher salt, black pepper and the rest of herbs and spices.
- Pour the wine and crushed tomatoes all over the chicken and vegetables.
- Cover and set the slow cooker to LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Serve it with
You can serve it on top of plain pasta, polenta, or even rice! Heck, I love it with just a good side of crusty bread to sop up the sauce. Can't go wrong with that!
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Easy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
- 6 chicken thighs bone in, skin on, trimmed of excess fat
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 celery ribs chopped
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms (white or baby bella) cleaned and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley more for later
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup red wine
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides and underneath the sikn.
- In a large pan or braiser (with a lid), heat 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down first. Cook until golden brown, then turn over to brown on the other side (about 8 minutes total). Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
- In the same braiser, add the onions, celery, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, tossing regularly. Add koserh salt, pepper, oregano, fresh thyme, parsley and red pepper flakes. Allow the vegetables to cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender.
- Add the red wine and cook for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by about ½, then add the tomatoes. Cook 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and allow the chicken to cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Crockpot option. If you need to make this in your slow cooker or corckpot, brown the chicken first, then transfer it to the slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingrients to the slow cooker. Cover and set the corckpot on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
- Leftovers & Storage. Bring cooked chicken cacciatore to room temprature before then store in tight-lid containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
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