icon Chicken Cacciatora

Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and "Pollo alla cacciatora" means a chicken stew, hunter-style. It is a classic Tuscan dish, a brothy, aromatic one-pot stew. In its most basic form, it consists of chicken or rabbit and spices, the essential ones being thyme, parsley, and oregano. Chicken Cacciatora uses the dark meat of the chicken which is fattier but has more flavor. The meat is cooked until it literally falls off the bone. When finished, the dish can be served alone or with polenta or mashed potatoes.

The recipe is very simple to prepare and very tasty, thanks to the savory ingredients such as onion, tomato and red wine that enhance the flavor of the chicken. The origins of this recipe are among the poor who used what they had available to eat. The chickens they raised became, in the days of celebration, a sumptuous meal enriched with vegetables and the flavor of freshly opened red wine.

Pollo alla cacciatora is somewhat similar to coq au vin, in that both are poultry stews with wine and vegetables. Coq au vin differs in marinating the chicken in wine prior to cooking, the use of lardons as well as being flamed with brandy.


  • 1 chicken, qartered, or 2 large chicken breasts on the bone
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 lb tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 glass red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by cleaning the chicken and cutting it into pieces. Leaving the skin on will give more flavor to the recipe, but taking it off is healthier. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken pieces on both sides for about 10 minutes, until golden.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots, a pinch of salt, pepper and rosemary leaves, and sauté everything for at least another 5 minutes.
  3. When everything is nicely colored, pour the wine over the chicken and let it evaporate.
  4. Add the tomatoes, cover and let cook over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes (or until the chicken is well cooked and soft). If the chicken becomes dry, add a ladle of hot water or broth.
  5. Once cooked, add a handful of chopped parsley and serve hot with a side of polenta or mashed potatoes.
  6. YIELD: Serves 4

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Last updated: October 12, 2010