Authentic Pollo Alla Cacciatora Recipe

This authentic Pollo Alla Cacciatora recipe is extra juicy and packed with hearty flavors. It makes the perfect prep meal for any day of the week served with homemade bread.

Pollo alla cacciatora, aka chicken cacciatore in a pan.

What Is Pollo alla Cacciatora?

Pollo Alla Cacciatora is a traditional Italian dish made of chicken stewed in a rich and earthy tomato sauce with various herbs like rosemary, bay leaf, sage, and thyme.

The name of this stew comes from cacciatore which means ‘hunter’ in Italian, and it refers to the dish being prepared in a hunter-style using various fresh herbs and game meat like rabbit, duck, quails, or other types.

Throughout Italy, you can enjoy this delicious dish which will vary depending on the region of the country, but it is believed that is Tuscany its place of origin.

For example, those who are on the slopes of the mountains take advantage of the abundance of mushrooms and use them.

While those who live near Lake Garda and are surrounded by olive trees make the dish with local produce.

Pollo alla cacciatora, aka chicken cacciatore in a pan. Seen from above.

There are two popular versions of the chicken cacciatora dish. One is the one I am sharing with you today: With tomato juice and olives. And the other is in a white sauce without tomato.

Both versions are amazing and make the perfect comfort dish for any season and any day of the week.

Served with crusty bread to dip in the juice it is one of the Italian eating experiences not to be missed.

Ingredients Needed

  • CHICKEN: In Italy, this dish is made traditionally with a whole chicken cut into pieces, but I made it using only chicken thighs and drumsticks for convenience.
  • TOMATO SAUCE: Homemade or good quality canned tomato sauce. Make sure is plain tomato sauce without seasonings.
  • WINE: Red wine or white wine. Or you can also replace it with a splash of vinegar.
  • OLIVES: Green or black doesn’t matter, but make sure to remove the pit.
  • SOFFRITTO: You will need onion, carrot, and celery nicely chopped.
  • HERBS & SPICES: Classics like rosemary, bay leaves, sage, and thyme. Plus garlic, salt, and black pepper.
  • OIL: An excellent extra virgin olive oil is a must.
Ingredients for pollo alla cacciatora displayed on a kitchen surface and labeled with names.

Related article: How To Handle Raw Chichen.

How To Make Pollo alla Cacciatora

Peel and wash the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic. Then chop everything with a knife, mezzaluna, or using a food processor to make the soffritto.

Heat the oil in a large cooking pan over medium-high. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Chicken pieces in a cooking pan seasoned with salt and pepper.

Sear the chicken pieces for 10 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides.

Browned chicken in a cooking pan.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set them aside covered with foil. Remove excess oil if you want to.

Add soffritto and the herbs bouquet to the pan. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until chopped vegetables are softened.

Soffritto and fresh herbs being cooked in a pan.

Pour in the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute. Then add the tomato sauce, season with salt, and stir for 1 minute.

Soffritto and tomato sauce cooking in a pan.

Return the chicken to the pan and pour enough water to slightly cover all pieces.

Pollo alla cacciatora cooking on a pan.

Bring to a simmer, place a lid on the pan, and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover and flip the chicken.

If necessary, add more water to the pan and then keep cooking for another 15-20 minutes.

Pollo alla cacciatora after 30 minutes of cooking.

Add the olives and check the meat tenderness, adjust the stew with seasonings to taste, and keep cooking for another 10 minutes.

Pollo alla cacciatora with olives at the end of cooking.

Turn off the heat and let the stew sit for about 10 minutes before serving as suggested below.

Recipe Notes

  • For the best flavor, use chicken legs or thighs, those are also juiciest and make the best cacciatore chicken recipe.
  • Soffritto is one of the best preparations to make authentic Italian recipes. It adds not only flavor but also texture to this dish, so don’t skip it!
  • Keep it simple. I don’t find it necessary to add chicken stock, you will get all the flavor from the meat, soffritto, and herbs.
  • Use a type of wine you’ll also drink and stay away from those called “cooking wine” as they’re usually low-quality.
  • If you want to serve this dish to your kids, make sure you leave out the wine and use a splash of vinegar instead.
Close-up of pollo alla cacciatora.

How To Serve

Pollo alla cacciatora makes one of the most comforting and fulfilling meals for any day of the week. This is how we recommend serving it:

  • On its own, with crusty bread to wipe out the flavorful tomato sauce.
  • With a side of Italian-style roasted potatoes.
  • Over pasta, or your favorite noodles.
  • With polenta, just like they do in northern Italy.
  • On top of rice. One of my favorite ways! You can use steamed white rice, brown rice, etc.
  • Low carb, with a side of cauliflower rice or cicoria alla romana.

How To Store And Reheat

This Italian dish is one of my favorite prep meals and I make it often for busy days because is easy, budget-friendly, and everyone loves it! So, here are my recommendations for storing it:

Once the chicken cacciatora stew has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in resealable bags or freeze-proof containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge when ready to eat.

For reheating, place the cacciatore stew in a pan and add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce. Reheat over medium heat stirring from time to time.

Watch The Video

Pollo alla Cacciatora

author Maricruz
Pollo alla cacciatora (chicken cacciatora) is a traditional Italian recipe for everyday meals. A scrumptious chicken in a rich and rustic tomato sauce; intensely flavored with fresh herbs.
prep 10 minutes
cook 1 hour 20 minutes
total 1 hour 30 minutes
serving 4

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lb chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 14.5 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ cup white wine (or red, if preferred)
  • 1 cup olives (pitted)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 celery sticks (finely chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 bunch fresh herbs (rosemary, bay leaves, sage, thyme)
  • 3 Tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large cooking pan.
  • Add chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear the chicken for 10 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and place on a plate covered with foil.
  • Remove excess oil from the pan leaving only a little bit.
  • Add the soffritto (onion, celery, carrots, and garlic) and the herbs bouquet to the pan.
  • Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until chopped vegetables are softened.
  • Pour in the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add the tomato sauce, season with salt, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Return chicken to the pan and pour enough water to slightly cover all pieces.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and flip the chicken.
  • Cover again and keep cooking for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the olives and check the meat tenderness, adjust the stew with seasonings to taste, and keep cooking for another 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the stew sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • For the best flavor, use chicken legs or thighs, those are also juiciest and make the best cacciatore chicken recipe.
  • Soffritto is one of the best preparations to make authentic Italian recipes. It adds not only flavor but also texture to this dish, so don’t skip it!
  • Keep it simple. I don’t find it necessary to add chicken stock, you will get all the flavor from the meat, soffritto, and herbs.
  • Use a type of wine you’ll also drink and stay away from those called “cooking wine” as they’re usually low-quality.
  • If you want to serve this dish to your kids, make sure you leave out the wine and use a splash of vinegar instead.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 2284mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4955IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg
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