This Roman Chicken Cacciatore Recipe Is Authentic And Simple

A Roman Chicken Cacciatore recipe that is simple and delicious and this amazing dish can easily handle any additional ingredients that you might want to try.

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - The Bite Shot

Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)

There are a lot of variations on this traditional Chicken Cacciatore recipe that you might want to try, but this delicious version is the foundation of all the other varieties you might find online. This recipe is great because there are only a few ingredients and one cooking technique, braising, that results in a luxurious Italian favorite of mine.

How To Make Roman Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)

This dish is similar to one that I loved in a trattoria here in Rome. It was a pleasant surprise for me because I thought Chicken Cacciatore was smothered in tomatoes and peppers, but I learned it didn’t need to be. This Roman Chicken Cacciatore recipe draws its amazing flavor from the chicken, olives and wine and isn’t smothered in anything.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Why Is It Called Cacciatore?

Most likely “cacciatore” (alla cacciatora in Italian) which means hunter, refers to the combination of garlic and rosemary that is used for all the dishes with this name, for example, Rabbit Cacciatore. These are also the same ingredients that hunters used to season their catch when preparing the meal.

At one time, this recipe was prepared by farmers with ingredients from their own production. For example, the wine used was made from grapes from their vineyards, free-range chicken from their farms, olives and rosemary from their gardens.

The History Of Chicken Cacciatore

Between the 19th and 20th centuries in the region of Tuscany in northern Italy, chicken became popular on the peasant tables, especially for celebrations like Sundays or Christmas.

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - Marinade

Marinating The Chicken

This rustic Chicken Cacciatore recipe, which is certainly not refined but is capable of making everyone lick their lips, especially if accompanied with many slices of fresh bread to dip into the sauce was a favorite. This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is one of those slow-cooked stews, ideal to bring to the table in autumn or winter, simple to prepare and filling the stomach.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Don’t buy cheap plastic cups and spoons because this stainless steel set will last a really long time!

This is the best Chicken Cacciatore Recipe because it is a simple and tasty second course. This recipe originates from Tuscany, and like all recipes of ancient peasant tradition, has many variations. I’ve heard this version is called the classic “Grandmother’s Recipe”, and it is full of aromas and scents that will flood your kitchen. This is the white version, without tomato, lighter and in my opinion it really brings out all the delicate flavor of chicken meat.

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What Chicken Is Used For Cacciatore?

I used the tastiest parts of the chicken (thighs and drumsticks) because this is appropriate for a longer cooking dish. If you used chicken breasts, the meat would be overcooked and tough. The chicken is cut into small pieces and will first be marinated with oil and wine and then browned in a pan with the classic aromas (garlic, bay leaf and rosemary). It will have to continue cooking slowly, until it becomes tender and succulent.

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - Chicken Legs

Thighs and Drumsticks

What Olives Are Used For Roman Chicken Cacciatore?

The key here is to use pitted black olives, but if you have access to a wide range of olives like we do here in Rome, and across Italy, this is an opportunity to try some new variations. Follow your taste buds on this one, because as long as there are no pits, you should be good to go.

What Cooking Technique Is Used For Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - Braising


The important technique used when preparing this Chicken Cacciatore recipe is braising. Some recipes you will find online call it stewing, or slow cooking, but there is a specific technique that you should learn because, in my opinion, it is used in some of the greatest dishes you will ever enjoy.

Braising is a combination of cooking techniques where you lightly fry the chicken, or any meat, on high heat until the outside is browned, but the inside is not cooked. Then you let it cook, or “stew”, in some kind of liquid (like wine or tomato sauce) in a covered pan until it is fully cooked. 

Roman Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Prep Time: 40 mins (including time to marinate)
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Servings: 2 or 4, depending on the side dishes

Ingredients For The Chicken Cacciatore

  • 28 ounces (800 g) Chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (Peeled)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste 
  • 3 ounces (80 g) Black Olives (Pitted)
  • Salt to taste 

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

Ingredients For The Marinade

  • 10 fl. ounces (70ml) Dry White Wine

  • 5 fl. ounces (35 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2 sprigs Rosemary

  • Salt to taste

  • pepper to taste

Easy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - Whisking


Cooking Instructions For Roman Chicken Cacciatore

  1. If the chicken legs are whole, divide them into thighs and drumsticks  and transfer the chicken into a large bowl.
  2. To prepare the marinade, in a bowl combine: the wine and olive oil.
  3. Whisk vigorously with a fork to create a smooth and creamy sauce, and add it to the chicken.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 bay leaves, the peeled garlic and two sprigs of rosemary to the bowl. Mix everything, coating the chicken with the sauce. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the chicken to a hot pan or dutch oven, making sure it is well drained of the marinade liquid. (Keep The Sauce because we will need it for braising later on).
  6. Let it cook over high heat for a few minutes, turning it on all sides, making sure to brown the chicken pieces on all sides, especially the skin.
  7. When the chicken pieces are well browned, add the marinade liquid, including the Rosemary, Garlic and Bay leaves, over high heat and let the wine evaporate.
  8. Lower the flame and add a glass of water. Cover the pan with the lid and let it cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken from time to time to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and the rosemary. Check the chicken by piercing it with a knife to confirm that the juices are running clear. If you still see red, continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
  10. Once you are happy with the doneness of the chicken, add the olives and continue cooking over low heat for another few minutes.
  11. Finally, add the vinegar and season the chicken cacciatore with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  12. Strain the cooking liquid and pour it over the chicken when you have added it to the plate.
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - Plating

Final Plating

What Is Usually Served With Chicken Cacciatore?

Typically, because this is a rustic dish, you will want to pair it with something equally as rustic. Roasted potatoes with Rosemary or Polenta would be a great marriage, but don’t forget to serve them on separate dishes, which is the Italian way to do it. The other important thing is to ensure you have some great crusty bread with which to sop up all the delicious sauce you spent time preparing.

Previous Recipes That Might Interest You

This Chicken Cacciatore Recipe is only one course, so here are some other recipes that you might want to try to build a complete meal:

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