You love it at your favorite Italian restaurant, and for good reason. The rustic flavors of chicken cacciatora appeal to those of us who are following a healthy diet. Translated as “hunter style,” chicken prepared this way is braised in tomato sauce with vegetables. But that is where the similarities end.
Styles of cacciatora vary from region to region in Italy, as seasonal ingredients indigenous to the area change.
Where one family cooks with root vegetables, another may use fresh herbs, depending upon what they have in their garden or local area. In my search for Chicken Cacciatora recipes I found variations including adding porcini mushrooms, flavoring it with juniper berries and serving it with spaghetti squash. I also found many recipes that took 45 minutes or longer to prepare, too long for our modern needs.
Even though prepared in the lighter Mediterranean style, Chicken Cacciatora can break the calorie, fat and carbohydrate bank due to its high content of butter, use of dark meat and starchy root vegetables. Using a touch of olive oil, preparing the dish with chicken breasts and using a fresh, flavorful herb like rosemary brightens the flavor of the dish. Eliminating hard vegetables like carrots reduces the time needed to simmer, making this faster than ordering a pizza. Just like the traditional cacciatora recipe, this one is streamlined to fit your region and season. New Classic Chicken Cacciatora
This dish can be cooked a day in advance, making an even greater timesaver. Let the chicken cool completely before refrigerating, and reheat in a covered pan at a slow simmer.
6 skin-on chicken breasts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced white onion
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their own juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1. Wash chicken in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. In a large skillet, over medium heat add olive oil, onion and pepper. Cook the onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, until soft.
2. Add the garlic and chicken, skin side down, to the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken skin becomes golden brown, then turn. Season the other side.
3. Turn the chicken and add wine to the pan, allowing it to simmer until reduced by half.
4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook the chicken until it is cooked all the way through, about 35 minutes, turning the chicken 2-3 times while simmering.
Per serving: 512 calories; 22g fat; 14.3g carbs; 1.5g fiber; 64g protein; 170mg cholesterol