Also known as Hunter’s chicken, chicken Cacciatore is an easy one skillet dish with deep flavors.

Although one can use chicken breast, the more flavorful bone-in thighs are best in this dish and make for a richer tasting meal.

Keep in mind, recipes are a guide and not carved in stone. Love garlic? Throw in a few more cloves. Not a fan of bell peppers? Try unbrined artichoke hearts. Like more heat? Hit that crushed red pepper! And as always, season to taste and taste to season along the way.

Buon appetito!

–Jack Sonni, writer, musician and food lover, known as the “other guitar player” in Dire Straits


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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, (or 6 cloves)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley and basil each, plus more to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28 oz diced San Marzano tomatoes (no need to drain)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup red vino–Chianti, zinfandel or syrah—go nicely in the dish, leaving plenty in the bottle for the chef to enjoy while prepping!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and don’t be shy! 
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy cast iron 12” skillet on medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside
  3. Add remaining oil to the pan. Sauté the onion until transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the peppers, carrot, mushrooms and herbs; keep stirring and cook until vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Add tomatoes and pour in the wine (this is a good time to enjoy a sip or three yourself!).
  5. Stir, scraping browned bits up from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Add chicken thighs, nestling each into the sauce; cover with lid, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer (stirring occasionally) for 40 minutes or until internal temp of fattest thigh is 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat should easily fall from bone.
  7. Add in the olives, simmer 5 minutes. Hit it with the parsley and serve immediately with a side of your choice. Cacciatore is traditionally served in a bowl with a crusty rustic bread. The dish works equally well over polenta, pasta or rice.