What I love most about this recipe — chicken cooked in tomatoes, Chianti and rosemary — is that it is pretty impossible to mess up and can be left alone for the majority of the cooking process.
Cooked slowly on a low flame, Chicken alla Cacciatora (literally “hunter-style chicken”) delivers juicy chicken with a sauce that has had time to harmonize the best flavors of the Italian countryside. Licking fingers and eating the last bits of meat off the bones are encouraged!
Chicken alla Cacciatora Recipe
- 2 pounds of dark meat chicken pieces (thighs and/or legs)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 rosemary sprig, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, pulsed in blender or squeezed into small pieces with your hands
- 1 generous cup Chianti or another red wine (white wine will work too if that’s all you’ve got)
- a handful or two of green, kalamata or mixed olives (optional)
- Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat for five minutes. Brown the chicken, which adds flavor and good looks to your chicken (if you are absolutely too lazy to do this, I give you permission to skip this step). To brown: Add olive oil to dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces…the number that will fit on the bottom of pan without being stacked on top of one another. Let brown about five minutes per side, moving them around with tongs every so often so they don’t stick. Remove chicken and place onto paper towels.
- Add onions, garlic, and rosemary (and carrots, celery and/or thyme if using) to pot, and let cook over medium heat for five minutes.
- Return chicken to pot. Sprinkle generously with salt (a good teaspoon). Add tomatoes and wine and olives. Let rise to a little boil. Turn heat to low and cover.
- Let cook for about an hour, until chicken can easily be pulled from the bones. If sauce needs thickening, raise heat to medium or medium high and continue to cook with the pot uncovered.
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Elana Horwich is the founder of Meal and a Spiel, a boutique Beverly Hills cooking school and online recipe resource based on the philosophy that anyone can learn to cook. Her recipes reflect a crossroads between authentic country Italian and healthy California cooking. The result is simple rustic fare that prioritizes flavor and indulgence without the food coma.