This easy chicken cacciatore recipe makes a simple and delicious Italian comfort food that is perfect all year round!
Easy Chicken Cacciatore is a Family Recipe
Cooking has been a part of my life for a very long time. As a child, I loved helping my mother and grandmother make dinner. When I became a teenager, I enjoyed the satisfaction of making meals for my family before my mother arrived home from work.
My love of cooking carried over to adulthood where I now cook meals most nights of the week. Even though my family has a busy life, I still feel the need to cook dinner even if it is eaten on the run. I also think it is important that our family sits down to dinner together whenever we can. A simple chicken cacciatore recipe is perfect comfort food to get the whole family together around the table.
My family heritage is Italian and Croatian. My dad was born on an island in Croatia and the food that he grew up with was not exactly the same as what children in the United States eat. He liked to incorporate some of his traditions into our family meals.
You might not believe some of the food I tried during my childhood. I was no stranger to every specimen of seafood including octopus. It was not unusual for organ meats and wild greens that most people never heard of to be on our dinner table. TV dinners were never on the menu.
Even though I didn’t enjoy all the delicacies as much as my dad did, I learned to appreciate food from other cultures. Some of my fondest Sunday memories were going to a local chicken coop with my family after church. My father would pick out a fresh rooster. The store would kill it, clean it and then we would take it home to cook. My mother would cook the rooster in red gravy and it was served with homemade pasta or risotto on the side. Pasta was hand made by my father’s aunts. They would make huge batches for everyone.
If you stopped at their house on the day they were making it, you would see a kitchen table covered with flour and rows of pasta drying on the table. If you’ve never had sauce made with rooster, you are missing out. I remember it being the most flavorful red sauce there is.
New Modern Day Recipe
This recipe was recreated to fit my family’s modern day schedule and to make cooking dinner a bit easier than going out and getting a live rooster to cook. I often make chicken for dinner. In this recipe I used chicken instead of rooster as I would not even know where to buy a rooster. This easy chicken cacciatore recipe is a favorite in my meal rotation. It is versatile in the fact that it can be served with rice, pasta, polenta or crusty bread. It is easy to make and it is one of the recipes that my children have always helped me make. They are older now but but I love looking at this photo from when they were younger and helped me in the kitchen.
This dish is also perfect to serve when we are having company. It can be made in advance so that I have more time to spend with my family and guests. It is the type of comfort food I will make any time of the year.
I love making simple meals that have lots of flavor and this easy chicken cacciatore is one of them. There is nothing like having a big bowl of comfort food.
Easy Chicken Cacciatore Variations
- Add some roasted garlic to the sauce instead of fresh garlic. It really gives this dish great flavor.
- Rice (brown or white), pasta, or crusty bread are all great choices to serve with this easy chicken cacciatore recipe.
- Peppers, zucchini, spinach, or even olives can be used in place of or in addition to the mushrooms for added flavor and extra nutrients to this dish!
- Sprinkle some mozzarella or Parmesan cheese on top for a finishing touch.
How do I buy the best chicken?
- It’s important to look at the “best by” date, but also pay attention to the color.
- Your chicken should be a nice, healthy pink hue.
- If you’re storing chicken in the fridge, you should try to use it within 1 to 2 days. If you buy it in advance but don’t plan on using the chicken right away, you can store it in the freezer for up to nine months.
How do I buy the best carrots?
- The best carrots will be plump and have a vibrant orange color. Their surface should be smooth and free of cracks.
- Try to avoid carrots that have strings dangling from their bottom.
- If you can, look for carrots that are in bunches (that still have the leaves at the top). You can use the leaf color to determine the age of the carrots--a faded green or yellow means they might be too old.
- Carrots will last several weeks in the fridge but will start to lose flavor and nutritional value, so try to use or eat them within a week of buying.
How do I buy the best mushrooms?
- I like to buy loose mushrooms. They are typically a bit cheaper, and this will allow you to pick and choose the ones you want. If you must buy a package of mushrooms, chose whole mushrooms and not the pre-sliced ones. These spoil easily.
- Choose mushrooms that don't look bruised or broken, have a firm feel and even coloration, and smell a bit earthy but still fresh.
- Try to keep your mushrooms stored away from foods that may be smelly. If you can, store them in a paper bag in the fridge to promote air circulation.
- Make sure to clean your mushrooms before cooking. As a result, this will remove all the little bits of dirt on them!
How do I store my leftovers?
- Allow the leftovers to cool before transferring to an airtight container.
- If storing in the fridge, your cacciatore should last 4-5 days. It can be reheated in the microwave for about 2 minutes or so, however if more time is needed, add in 30-second intervals.
- In the freezer, your leftovers should last around 2 months. When it's time to reheat, allow them to thaw (in the fridge overnight is usually the best option) and follow the same microwave procedure as above.
More Chicken Recipes
- Brick Chicken Quarters
- Mushroom Chicken Thighs with Rosemary
- Best Chicken Noodle Soup
- Cuban Roasted Chicken
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie from Dizzy Busy and Hungry
- Skinny Oven Fried Chicken from Mommy's Home Cooking
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs - The Best Crispy Drumsticks out there!
Side Dishes to go with Cacciatore
- Crispy Oven Fried Zucchini Chips
- Oven Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
- Mini Parmesan Truffle Hasselback Potatoes
- Sauteed Brussels Sprouts from Well Plated
- Herby Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas from Inspired Taste
- Avocado Tomato Arugula Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
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Simple Chicken Cacciatore
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 Pieces of chicken skin removed
- 2 Medium sized carrots cleaned and chopped
- 1 Large shallot peeled and diced
- 3 Cloves garlic minced
- 16 Ounces white mushrooms sliced
- 1 Cup chicken stock
- 1 28 ounce Can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Handful parsley chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 2 Teaspoons McCormick dried basil
- 1 teaspoon McCormick dried oregano
- ½ Teaspoon McCormick crushed red pepper
- McCormick Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to medium high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
- Add the carrots, shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock to deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano and red pepper.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cover. Simmer on low for another 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and tender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice, pasta or crusty bread.
Originally Published June 2014; Updated August 2020