Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore 1920 2560 Daryl Duarte

Chicken Cacciatore

Growing up in a budget-conscious household, this dish was a staple in feeding a hungry family. The assembly is simple, uses basic techniques, and the cooking time is relatively brief. It is the perfect mid-week meal for busy working families and anyone who loves robust, delicious food that can be accompanied by a wide variety of side dishes, including salad, pasta, polenta, or a favorite vegetable.


  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup wine, (I prefer white wine, but will use red in a pinch)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 fresh Basil leaves or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 sprig of fresh Oregano or ½ tsp dried
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • ½ tsp Fennel seeds


  • Trim the thighs of excess skin flaps and fat, and lightly salt and pepper on both sides of each thigh.
  • Peel and slice an onion into large ½-inch thick slices and set aside.
  • Core and seed the bell peppers, removing any white membrane. Slice into ½-inch thick slices and set aside.
  • Mince the two cloves of garlic and set aside.
  • Set a heavy bottom braising pot onto the stove over medium heat. Bring the pot to temperature, and then add two tablespoons of corn oil to the bottom of the pan. The oil should react to the heat – and might even start to smoke a bit. Moving carefully but quickly, lower the thighs, one at a time, into the pot, skin side down, and drag them through the hot oil. This prevents the chicken from sticking. Be careful not to touch your fingertips to the pan.
  • Let the chicken brown without moving it or lifting it frequently. Monitor the heat. Lower the temperature if you think the chicken is scorching (smoke). You want an even brown crust on both sides of the chicken. After about 4 to 5 minutes, lift one piece of chicken to check the browning. If ready, flip and brown the remaining side.
  • When both sides of the chicken are browned, transfer the thighs to a low-sided pan to rest.
  • Add the onions to the hot pan, toss in the chicken fat, and sprinkle with kosher salt; stir and cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. This will take about 7 minutes. (You may need to adjust the heat to medium-low to avoid browning or worse, burning.) Transfer the wilted onions to the same tray as the chicken.
  • Repeat with the sliced and cleaned bell peppers. Toss in the chicken fat and sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook until soft and slightly browning. Near the end of cooking the peppers, add the garlic and stir to prevent the garlic from burning. Adjust the heat as necessary to cook, but not burn, the vegetables. Transfer the peppers and garlic to the chicken and onions dish.
  • Add the tomato paste to the pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil and stir for two minutes over medium heat. Cooking tomato paste is essential to deepen the entire dish's flavor. Again, watch the pan's temperature, and if you see the paste begin to brown excessively - reduce the heat.
  • Add the wine and the water. Stir blend.
  • Add the oregano, fennel, basil, and bay leaf.
  • Then, return the onions and peppers to the pot, stir them into the tomato gravy and incorporate the ingredients evenly. Lower the thighs, skin side up, into the braising sauce, and if necessary, add more water until the chicken is nearly covered. The top of the chicken should just be peaking out of the sauce.
  • You can finish this dish in the oven at 350 degrees with the lid left slightly ajar (make sure you preheat the oven if you decide to go this route) or on the stovetop. Either method, the cooking time is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.
  • If you are cooking on the stovetop, adjust the heat so you can maintain a gentle simmer with the pan's cover left slightly ajar.
  • When done, the chicken should be tender and loose against the bone.


If you make this a bit ahead, you can leave it on the stovetop on a simmer setting.
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