Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian and it is thought that game hunters started this dish as something easy they could make out in the field. Logic would suggest that rabbit or other wild game was initially used along with whatever seasonal vegetables they could find along with readily available herbs and spices.
The consensus is this came about during the Renaissance period (1300 – 1600 AD). Over the last 600 years many chefs have added and tweaked this recipe and have made it a favorite all over the world.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2-3 pounds of chicken thighs, with the bone in and skin on
some salt to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 green bell pepper, washed, seeded, and sliced thinly
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine (Syrah, Sangiovese)
2-3 cups peeled and chopped, firm ripe tomatoes, with their juices
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted, sliced or whole)
1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 2 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
1 teaspoon dry oregano (or 2 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
2-3 sprigs of italian parsley
Start by seasoning the chicken pieces on all sides with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan and brown, which should take about 7 minutes, and then turn over and lightly brown the other side.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat out of the frying pan, and then add the sliced onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium high.
Cook until the onions are translucent, and the mushrooms have become limp. This should take about 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook a minute or so longer. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, and then add the tomatoes.
Stir in all of the spices as well as about a teaspoon of salt to taste. Simmer everything uncovered for another 5 minutes or so, and then put the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes and onions, skin side up.
Lower the heat and cover the frying pan with its lid slightly ajar so some of the steam can get out. Proceed to cook the chicken on a low simmer, turning it from time to time. Cook everything until the thighs are tender, which should take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Add olives serve over pasta, garnish with italian parsley. Enjoy!