Chicken in the Style of the Hunter’s Wife
I think I could write a whole book of chicken recipes called alla cacciatora. One explanation for the name is that chicken, until the last 50 years or so, was a special occasion dish in most homes and not eaten every day. But during the hunting season, the hunter’s wife would prepare a chicken to fortify her husband for the rigors of the hunt.
There are so many variations to this dish. Southern Italians make it with tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. In Emilia-Romagna it has onion, carrot, celery, tomatoes, and dry white wine. In Friuli–Venezia Giulia, it is made with mushrooms. The Genoese make it simply with tomatoes and local white wine. This Piedmontese version is a classic.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Textureherby, savory, winey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 chicken (about 3½ pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 2 cups canned tomatoes
- 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Rinse and pat the chicken pieces dry. Cook the chicken, turning the pieces frequently until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Tip the pan and skim off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onions, celery, carrot, and peppers to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until the chicken juices run clear when the thigh is pierced in the thickest part, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
2004 Michele Scicolone