Hunter’s Chicken aka Chicken Cacciatora
Cacciatore literally means "hunter" in Italian. In cuisine, "alla cacciatora" refers to a meal prepared "hunter-style" usually with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit.
There are many different variations of this dish based upon ingredients available in specific regions. For example, in southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine while northern Italian chefs might use white wine.
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can san marzano tomatoes (no added salt) chopped or pureed depending on your style
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 tbsp Sriracha Sauce (Dexter Brand)
- 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar preferable white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 pound spring chicken cut into pieces
- 5 cloves of garlic smashed
- Fresh cracked blacker pepper
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ extra virgin olive oil
Lightly dredge the chicken in flour and shake to remove an excess flour then season with one teaspoon of salt. In a thick heavy bottom pot, turn heat on to medium high, add olive oil and brown chicken until golden on all sides then remove from pot. This usually takes 3-4 minutes per side. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, sriracha sauce, thyme, and bay leaf and sauté until onion is translucent.
The sriracha sauce is a unique addition to this recipe. The sweetness and acidity balance the fat in the dish and lend a warming flavor in the background. You can add a pinch of sugar and cayenne pepper if you ran out of sriracha sauce.
Add chicken back to pot and turn heat up to high, now add the white wine and vinegar and scrape the tiny bits that are stuck to the pan. This is known as deglazing, which is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving caramelized bits of food from a pan. These bits stuck to the pan are loaded with flavor and should not be ignorded.
When the wine has reduced to nothing, add the tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Variations: If your heart desires, you can bell peppers or olives to this recipe with great success. Just include these when you add the onions and it will give a nice Sicilian element to the dish!