Pollo alla Cacciatora - Italian Hunter-style Chicken
Many people have tried Chicken Cacciatore, but the authentic version is much less complicated than what you might find in an Italian restaurant outside of Italy. Pollo alla Cacciatora is a rustic Italian classic with peasant origins. This version represents the variation common in Tuscany, full of flavors from the native land that complement one another for a taste that's sweet and vibrant at the same time.
- 1 whole chicken (about 2 lbs)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 large onion
- 2 large carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1.5 cups red wine
- salt & pepper to taste
- a spring of rosemary
- 6 large ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
- fresh, flat leaf parsley
- chicken stock
- Prepare the chicken and split into 8 pieces.
- Heat some of the oil in a dutch oven or lidded earthenware dish and brown the pieces of chicken on both sides.
- Once the outside of each piece of chicken is crisp, remove them from the dish and set aside.
- Heat the rest of the oil in the same pan and brown the garlic, bruised or sliced depending on the strength of flavor you prefer.
- Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook until soft and browned.
- Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Place the chicken back in the pan and pour in the red wine, turning the heat to high.
- Once the wine has cooked down, reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and a little broth if necessary, cover and let cook for approximately 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- If the mixture starts to dry out during the cooking process, add broth as necessary to retain moisture.
- Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
Feel free to use dry white in place of red wine. There are many variations of this dish throughout Italy, according to region. For example, in Rome, they often include red pepper, vinegar and anchovy in the sauce, and, in Sicily, it's common to add green olives, capers, vinegar and even something sweet like raisins or honey.