Easy Italian Chicken Cacciatore recipe, an authentic Hunter Style Chicken Stew in Red Wine Sauce with Italian San Marzano Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms! You can finish it on the stove top, bake it in the oven or the slow cooker.
You knew I was gonna bring an authentic, easy Italian Chicken Cacciatore recipe from Italy for you. How could I not, right ?! Especially because this is a regular at the shack, healthy, light, gluten free and so easy to make. Not to mention perfect for a crowd! There is no browning, no frying and no flour involved either you guys.
So what is chicken cacciatore and where did it originate from?
It is an authentic Italian hunter style chicken stew, which originally was made with whatever the peasants would hunt that day: pheasant, rabbit, wild stuff, you name it! But nowadays it is more commonly made with chicken, or hen and some type of wild mushrooms, in a wine tomato sauce with herbs and aromatics.
Which wine should you use? Your choice:
- a red wine sauce base
- in a white wine sauce
Being that I am using flavorful San Marzano tomatoes (<–amazon link) to create a thick sauce without any flour addition, I opted for the red wine in my recipe. Feel free to go for a dry white wine if your heart so desires. I’m particularly fond of red, and look at that beauty, right ? In any case, the more you reduce the wine sauce the more it will thicken.
I absolutely swear by this easy recipe, it is not just to die for delicious but it is also healthy. I skipped browning the meat and skipped on the flour. It really isn’t necessary and not all that healthy.
When you braise the drumsticks or thighs, you won’t end up with crispy skin regardless if you brown it or not, and that is fantastic news in a tender fall off the bone stew, right?!
Ideally served over creamy polenta, but egg noodles pasta, potatoes and rice are also common side dishes.
Tip for making the best Italian Chicken Cacciatore:
Splurge just a little bit on wild mushrooms at the market. Because flavor, flavor and more flavor!
These will change with the the seasons of course, but usually you can find some variety throughout the year. I love using the oysters as a base in this dish, however when I find wild chanterelles at a good price, I’m all over those.
Traditionally you would throw a few black olives on top just before serving, but you know how the BatMan is not on good terms with the olives, so I add some steamed artichokes as a final touch. Your call!
In any case, I know your Italian Chicken Cacciatore is gonna be the bomb, especially if you listen to me and serve it with lots of bruschetta and crostini to soak up that red wine tomato gravy. Or spoon it over a bed of creamy polenta, just because everything is better over polenta, right? Forget about it, Mangia! Florentina xo’s
Italian Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
- 4.5 lb chicken legs drumsticks or thighs or a mix
- 1 oz x28 can San Marzano tomatoes lightly crushed
- 1 1/4 c red wine or dry white wine
- 1 lb oyster mushrooms
- 1/2 lb wild mushrooms mixed
- 1 large leek sliced
- 8 cloves garlic whole
- 1 bell pepper sliced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes + more to taste
- 2 tbsp Sicilian oregano crumbled or 1 sprig rosemary 10 thyme sprigs
- 2 leaves bay
- 1/3 c Italian parsley roughly chopped
- 2 c Artichoke hearts steamed, optional
- 1 c black olives optional
- Preheat your oven to 375”F
- Slice the leek in half lengthwise and then thinly slice it crosswise. Rinse well in a bowl of cold water, allowing all the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Gently scoop out all the leeks and lightly pad dry on paper towels.
- Heat up a large cast iron dutch oven over medium flame. Add the olive oil and the garlic cloves and sear them until golden all over. Add the leeks with a pinch of sea salt. Sautee for about 10 minutes then stir in the oyster mushrooms and carrots. Toss to coat and cook for a couple of more minutes to create layers of flavor.
- Add the chicken legs to the pot and sprinkle with the sea salt, then toss to coat well. Pour in the red wine and bring to a simmer. Allow it to reduce a little, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced bell pepper, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cover with a tight lid.
- After you brought the chicken cacciatore to a simmer on the stove top cover it with a tight lid.Transfer the pot to the preheated oven and cook for 50 minutes. Remove the lid and add in the remaining mixed wild mushroom. Adjust seasonings to your taste and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered, until the gravy has reduced to your liking and the chicken falls of the bone, tender.
- Serve hot garnished with the Italian parsley and sprinkled with the olives or steamed artichokes on top.
Stove Top Method:
- Continue cooking the chicken cacciatore covered, on low flame for 50 minutes. Remove the lid, add the remaining mushrooms and continue cooking an additional 20 minutes until the chicken falls off the bone and sauce has reduced to your liking.Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
Slow Cooker Method:
- Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken and mushrooms and continue reducing the sauce until concentrated to your liking. Adjust seasonings and serve sprinkled with fresh parsley.