Chicken Cacciatore

While I was on a lovely walk in the woods of Easton yesterday afternoon, I randomly decided I’d make chicken cacciatore for supper.  I’m not sure what sparked my desire to cook this rustic Italian dish whose contents I only vaguely knew of.  I was confident I’d have the needed ingredients and after a brief phone call with my mother and a glance at some recipes realized this was indeed the case.  Well, almost… I had to run to the nearby package store for some white wine.

Chicken cacciatore, which means “hunter’s chicken” in Italian, is a wonderful dinner for a cool, early spring night.  It’s hearty yet not too heavy and very easy to make.  The dish’s stewed tomatoes deliver a nice pump of the cancer-fighting anti-oxidant lycopene, too.

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The cacciatore recipe below is for omnivores. I’m sure, however, that you could omit the chicken and have a beautiful meal.  I also prepared braised carrots and basmati rice.

The Cost

Under $11.00 for supper for 2, plus plenty of leftover sauce and a little chicken for lunch the next day.

For the Chicken Cacciatore

What You Need:

  • 5-6 Chicken Drumsticks or Thighs, we spent $4.21 for 5 Bell & Evans legs
  • 1/3 cup Flour, $0.15
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced, $0.20
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced, $0.05
  • 1 cup or so of Cremini (Baby Bell) Mushrooms, sliced into small parts, $1.00
  • ½ cup White Wine, $2.00 (you can also use dry vermouth)
  • 28+ ounces of Fresh or Canned Tomatoes (I used 1 can of plum tomatoes and 1 fresh tomato I had sitting around), $2.40
  • 2-3 tablespoons Capers, drained, $0.40
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Oregano or 1 small Bay leaf
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

  • Wash and pat dry the chicken.
  • Then, dredge each piece in flour.
  • In a large saucepan, heat a glug of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken pieces and braise until slightly browned, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Remove from pan and put aside

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  • In the same saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until soft.

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  • Add mushrooms and season with some salt and pepper.

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  • Once mushrooms are soft, pour in white wine and reduce liquid. This should take about 3 minutes and smell delicious!
  • Next, add fresh tomatoes and cook a bit before adding canned tomatoes. If you’re only using canned tomatoes, toss them in right after reducing white wine.
  • When using canned whole tomatoes, break them apart by sqeezing one by one with your hand. Be careful not to splatter the walls!

  • Add capers, oregano or bay leaf, and a little more salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Immerse chicken pieces back in sauce (work slowly to avoid splattering!) and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.

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  • Serve hot!

For Braised Carrots

What You Need:

  • 3 organic carrots, $0.30
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

What You Do

  • Peel and cut carrots into quarter-round piece.
  • In a small saucepan, heat a little olive.
  • Add in carrots, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
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William surprised us by going to town licking this chicken bone. Very unusual behavior for this little guy! I’m glad he approved of the meal!

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