Enjoy this rustic Italian classic dish
Try this simple one-pan chicken cacciatore dish for your next Sunday lunch.
PREP TIME: 10 mins + marinading
COOKING TIME: 2 hrs
IDEAL FOR: crowd-pleaser, family, Sunday roast
Simple one-pan chicken cacciatore
Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken cacciatore) is another stunning rustic one-pan Italian dish.
A bit of marinading and browning off the chicken.
Then add to a pan so the chicken can bubble away in a delicious tomato, herb and olive sauce.
In this recipe (inspired by Jamie Oliver’s version), you can marinade the chicken overnight.
This will enhance the flavours and keep it lovely and moist.
But don’t stress if you’re doing it on the day.
Just an hour in the marinade while you organise any side dishes you’re doing will do the trick.
Pollo alla cacciatora
Pollo alla cacciatora or cacciatore means ‘hunter’.
It was named after the men who went off hunting somewhere around the 14th – 16th centuries.
It was probably easy to cook up while on the hunt to keep them going.
However, a lot of the research into this dish says it was probably not chicken used in this dish.
But more likely to have been dark meat like pheasant or rabbit.
Another change to the original dish in later years was the addition of tomatoes.
And as always with Italian dishes, there are different versions throughout the regions.
But most regions use chicken and braise it in herbs, garlic and red or white wine.
However, if you decide to modify this classic dish.
You will still end up with comfort food that doesn’t get much better than this.
I served my chicken cacciatore with pasta.
But you can serve it with creamy polenta or roast potatoes.
Or simply with crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.
Top tips for chicken cacciatore
- Chicken – Use bone-in and skin on chicken to gain great flavours and moistness. Oh and always use free-range chicken.
- Tomatoes – as with all Italian dishes, it’s all about quality ingredients so try and buy the highest quality ingredients. I use Mutti tinned tomatoes.
- Carrot, celery and onion – also known as soffritto, and is the Italian version of the French mirepoix i.e. it’s the base for many soups, sauces and stews. Add this in for more flavour.
- Wine – For this dish a Chianti or white wine like a Gavi works well for this dish or find a dry wine that’s similar.
- If you don’t want to cook with wine then replace it with extra stock.
- Chicken stock – it’s always quite good to use low sodium so you can control the amount of salt you add.
Simple one-pan chicken cacciatore
- 2 kg jointed chicken (high welfare) or the equivalent in pieces) ask your butcher to joint the chicken or see my blog on how to)
- sea salt and ground pepper to rub on the chicken
- 8 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 4 cloves of garlic (2 crushed, 2 sliced)
- 1/2 bottle of Chianti
- flour for dusting the chicken
- extra virgin olive oil
- 6 anhovies
- a handful of green or black olives
- 2 x 400 g tinned plum tomatoes (I used Mutti)
Marinade (do the night before if you can or 1 hour before cooking)
- In a large bowl add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed cloves of garlic.Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add them to the bowl, then cover with the wine.Put in the fridge and leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight if poss.
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF.Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Lightly, dust the chicken pieces with flour and in an ovenproof pan, with some olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over – put to one side.
- In the same pan add the sliced garlic and gently fry, then add the anchovies, olives, and tomatoes and using a wooden spoon break it all up. Then add the chicken and any marinade left over into the pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and cook for 1.5hrs.
- When cooked, stir, and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve.