Capture the Classic Flavor of Chicken Cacciatore

This classic Italian dish is the perfect slow-cooker recipe.

There are endless variations on the classic chicken cacciatore, many of them passed down in families for generations. As you’re learning to cook, you can try out several different approaches to this rustic Italian dish. With a few cooking tips, you’ll be able to share¬†your own version.

Dredge and sear
What parts of the chicken you use depends on personal taste, but legs and thighs tend to come out more juicy and tender than the white meat of the breasts. Many cacciatore recipes, such as the one presented by Giada de Laurentiis, start with dredging the poultry in flour. This will thicken the braising liquid during cooking and result in a heartier final product.

Whether you include the flour or not, you’ll sear the chicken in olive oil. Cook each piece for four to five minutes on either side over medium-high heat. Once you’ve browned the chicken, set it aside on a plate while you work on the vegetables and sauce.

Saute your choice of veggies
There is a wide variety of produce and spices that you can use in your cacciatore, so try a few different combinations to find your favorite. The New York Times recommended including mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes. De Laurentiis went with a red bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook the vegetables in oil until they’re tender and season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can use a variety of vegetables and herbs in your cacciatore.You can use a variety of vegetables and herbs in your cacciatore.

Prepare a delicious pan sauce
With the browned bits from mushrooms, garlic and onions, you can make a great sauce. Serious Eats advised simmering the veggies in white wine, adding canned tomatoes, a bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary, thyme or sage. Bring the mixture to a simmer before adding the chicken back in.

Simmer away
The lengthiest part of the process is slowly cooking the chicken in the pan sauce. You can do this on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take about 30 minutes for the chicken to cook through. Also look for the sauce to reduce and thicken. Once the chicken is done, take out the bay leaf or any herb sprigs. Serve with rice, pasta or just a garnish of chopped basil or parsley.

By following easy recipes, you can learn the techniques that go into making a tasty cacciatore. From there, modify the ingredients and cooking techniques to suit your own preferences and style.

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