California Central Coast Recipes

Chicken Cacciatora | Chicken Hunter Style

Chicken Cacciatora is one of my favorite dishes that I like make when it’s cold outside. I don’t know why this is called “hunter style” unless unlucky hunters ended up eating chicken or they were “chicken hunters” to start. This recipe method is a modified version of the classic Italian preparation for game birds, something long gone from the past.

The aroma is captivating and appetite-inducing. The flavors are memorable. This is another recipe that freezes and heats-up well, so if you have a good- buy on chicken, don’t hesitate to make more.

This recipe is ready after one hour of cooking, but I like to cook this for about two hours when possible. It is much more flavorful and tender when cooked a little longer -plus it will drive your guests crazy with the aroma when they get near the kitchen!

My Chicken Cacciatora hasn't always tasted so delicious. My first try at making it was back in 1982 when we purchased our first Microwave oven. A little cookbook came with it that featured a "microwave version of Chicken Cacciatora." Now just the mere fact that its cooked in a microwave goes against everything that a true Chicken Cacciatora embodies: The Microwave version is cooked fast over minutes rather than slowly over hours, the number of ingredients in the microwave version are too many to be a straight-forward simply balanced-tasting dish and the choice of vegetables in the microwave version were more like a chili than a stew. --Then of course the other thing about the microwave version, only my German Shepherd really "enjoyed it!" I'm not kidding, when I'd start preparing this dish, my dog would salivate outside the kitchen door! He was the only "food-critic" that gave me consistent kudos for that recipe!

Don't worry, this recipe is the classic Italian slow-cooked version. I've made it for many people, they've all "oohed and aahed" over it. This is one recipe you'll want to make more than once a year! It's pretty straight-forward. The only time-consuming part of it is browning the chicken thighs and legs. (Thighs are easier to brown, so if you're cooking for a crowd, use mostly thighs.)
And as I've said before, this tastes especially good on cold winter days and its fragrance and taste is addicting!

It is shown served on fettuccine, but you could just as deliciously serve it on Polenta or Brown Rice. ©2018, Chicken Cacciatora | Chicken Hunter Style
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
re-calculate ingredients for:


4 oz. pancetta or 4 strips bacon , diced
4 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
12 Chicken thighs and or legs , excess fat and skin trimmed
4 to 6 cloves garlic , chopped
6 cans(14.5 ounces) No salt chopped tomatoes , drained
2/3 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2 fresh sprigs rosemary
3 to 4 fresh sprigs sage , depending on strength of sage
2/3 pound mushrooms , sliced
1-1/2 pounds fettuccine pasta

OPTIONAL - Parmesan cheese , grated

Preparation Directions.

1 Salt and pepper the trimmed chicken.

2 In a non-reactive large stockpot, add 1 tablespoon Olive oil and heat over medium heat. Put chicken skin-side down and brown chicken all over. Remove chicken to plate and set aside. Drain off fat and discard it.

3 Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to pan on medium heat and fry the pancetta or bacon. Cook a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden- Do Not Brown.

4 When the aroma rises, add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Stir well to distribute ingredients throughout mixture.

5 Put chicken back in the thick stew, submerge in and under surface of mixture.

6 Simmer on low heat at least sixty minutes, or until chicken is tender. Be sure to stir and turn chicken at least once during the process.

7 When the Cacciatora is about ready to serve, if you're using pasta, heat pasta water. Add salt to boiling water. Add pasta to boiling water and stir. Cook until al dente or as directed on pasta package.

8 Dish out pasta on plate; spoon chicken and sauce over pasta and serve. If you like, offer fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Chicken Cacciatora is a rustic dish from the central part of Italy. It pairs very well with a rustic style Sangiovese or Primativo.

A tip from Sue!

The Practical Cook

At the heart of great cooking is a practical cook. Don’t experiment with a new recipe for company.

Use tried and true recipes for those occasions so you can reduce your worries and enjoy the meal and entertaining.