Pollo Cacciatore – Hunter’s Chicken

How many ways can you make Chicken Cacciatore? Quite a lot if you go by the recipes that pop up if you do an internet search. I imagine that the most authentic recipes rely on very few ingredients if they were cooked out doors by the hunters over an open fire. But perhaps they were cooked indoors by the hunters’ wives for their return.  I imagine that when they went out hunting they were probably tracking wild boar or something that really offered a sporting challenge. I don’t think Chicken Hunting would provide much of an adrenalin rush to the boys out for a day of testosterone, alcohol and guns.

Pollo Cacciatore (3)

Enough wondering about hunters and authentic recipes, here’s my version which relies mostly on store cupboard ingredients (well, I did have to hunt out my smoked pimentón from the back of the cupboard so I think it counts).

Ingredients to feed 6 hungry hunters

  • 1 large chicken jointed (I jointed mine into 14 pieces – 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, each breast cut in two, the rest of the carcass into 4 – all with the bone in)
  • About 2 cups of your favourite homemade tomato sauce or use tinned tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • An onion peeled, halved and cut into medium slices
  • About half a cup of olives
  • A large glass of red wine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A teaspoon of smoked pimentón or paprika
  • A red pepper thinly sliced
  • About 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut into small pieces (or use lardons)
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • Olive oil for frying

Start by heating a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan and (in batches) brown the chicken pieces and set aside. Add more oil if necessary. In the same pan gently fry the peppers, garlic and onions until soft then add the bacon and fry (on a higher heat) until the bacon starts to crisp.

Pollo Cacciatore (1)

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, wine, rosemary, pimentón and seasoning and bring it up to a bubble. Add the wine, olives, chicken and rosemary and cover. Cook gently on the stove top for about an hour or in the oven on low for a couple of hours. Check every so often and if the sauce is starting to dry out, add a splash of water.

When ready to serve, cook for a few minutes on the hob to thicken up the sauce if necessary and serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Tastes even better if made the day before. Any leftovers are wonderful with pasta. And a little glass of that red wine…


52 thoughts on “Pollo Cacciatore – Hunter’s Chicken

  1. My guess is that this is a recipe that was conjoured up by a most inventive hunters wife when they were faced with a supermarket bag of chicken that had been blown to “mince” by the hunters equivalent of a blunderbuss…they DO tend to go overboard when hunting don’t they? ;). Here’s to the inventive hunters wives of the world!

    1. Or a hunter’s wife who was sick of preparing dinner only for it to dry out – she cunningly prepared this and kept adding a slosh of wine to the pot and another to her glass while she waited for him to come home. And then she sent narf77 the bottle for her wine bottle garden!

  2. When I was reading through the list of ingredients, I had to smile….is that glass of red wine for the cook or to put in the dish? Maybe it should read as 2 glasses of red wine….now that’s how I like to cook!!

  3. Sounds like some good comfort food. I looooove smoked pimenton. It makes everything taste better. I love the provenance of this dish! Thanks.

  4. It took me an hour and a half to catch a chicken with a friend once. It was an abandoned or wild chicken and she kept crossing the road to our house every morning. Funnily enough she did look both ways. I kid you not. This looks delicious.

  5. [smiling] When I first got married I don’t think I had ever seen the inside of a kitchen so had to go onto a fast learning curve! Husband dear did not fancy ‘plain’ roasted chicken, so a simpler variant than yours was my first presentable chicken dish! Still cook it sometimes but have to learn to use olives more: lovely recipe and I only cook when two glasses of wine are in the offing: no way will I share mine!!

    1. I remember years ago my french teacher at secondary school telling us a story of the first time she cooked roast chicken for her English husband ad forgot to remove the giblets (which were in a separate plastic bag inside the cavity of the bird)! I think a lot of people start cooking with chicken recipes 🙂

  6. This is so strange, I was looking at a recipe for this dish only yesterday… and was undecided about whether it should be tonight’s supper. I think you have made my mind up for me – yum! 🙂

  7. I tasted an Italian recipe with plenty of sliced carrots instead of olives…
    Though I think yours is more”interesting” , I ‘d recommend this Italian dish!
    Ciao, Chica!

  8. Had to stop by and see if you two were safe after I heard about the storm…haven’t really seen the news while traveling. Looks like you both are as busy as ever with your new challenge but eating well. That is a good thing. 🙂

    1. Thanks Karen – we made it through the storm with only a little damage to the garden we’re fixing up. All very wet, wild and windy last week and it’s still a bit nasty but we’re warm and safe 🙂

  9. Chicken cacciatore is such a great dish, Tanya, and yours is a fantastic recipe. I like the idea of adding olives and pimenton but, above all else, it’s the rosemary. I love how it perfumes the kitchen while it cooks. As I’m sure you know, there are a number of dishes cooked alla cacciatore. Those hunters sure ate well!

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