Chicken Cacciatore, chicken hunter-style, is a thick, rich, hearty braised chicken stew with the warm wintery flavors of stewed tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and woodsy herbs.
Many traditional recipes call to dredge skin-on chicken pieces in flour and fry until golden and crispy. In this lightened version we will remove the skin but keep the bones attached while simmering. This makes the chicken tender and adds flavor to the sauce.
Before serving, the meat will be removed from the bones and added back to the skimmed sauce. This dish has all the traditional appeal of chicken cacciatore without the fat or clunky bones.
Toss with pasta or serve over risotto, polenta, mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash or cauliflower puree for lower carbs. This will store well and improve over a day or two. Reheat gently so not to overcook the chicken.
Pollo alla Cacciatora
4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts or 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow bell
1 red bell
2 cups sliced mushrooms, white button or baby portobello
6 cloves of garlic, about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup marsala
herb bundle with 1 sprig rosemary, 4 sprigs of thyme, and 2 sprigs of oregano wrapped together with kitchen string
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes
additional basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley and optional parmesan cheese for garnish
Preheat oven to 325. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Set aside.
Using a large dutch oven or ovensafe vessel, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Saute until softened, 7-8 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add marsala wine and cook until reduced slightly, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth crushed tomatoes, and herb bundle. Bring to simmer, add chicken, cover with a lid, and place in the oven.
For chicken breasts, cook 20-25 minutes, it's okay if chicken is a little underdone. For thighs, cook 45 minutes. The dark meat will need more time to cook and tenderize. Remove from oven and use tongs to remove chicken and from liquid to cool. Also remove herb bundle. Use a spoon to strain any accumulated oil from the top. At this point, if liquid needs to be thickened, place over medium heat to reduce slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
When chicken is cooled, remove it from the bone and shred it into bite-sized pieces, being careful to remove any fat or sinew from the thigh pieces. Add back to pot. Add additional fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley) to sauce. Serve with pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto.