A few handy shortcuts mean you can have this rich, satisfying and delicious Chicken Cacciatore on the table in half an hour.
Most chicken cacciatore recipes need 50 minutes in the oven. But honestly, who has time for that on a weeknight? I’m here to tell you that you can make it in half an hour. You just need a braiser with a lid, which will intensify the heat and cook your stew more quickly.
You’ll love this easy version of Chicken Cacciatore because
- It’s quick! We’ll use a few clever tricks to make it cook quickly.
- One pot - You only need to use one pot which will save on the washing up. Use a lidded deep frying pan (braiser).
- It’s rich and warming - Perfect for the cooler months, this rich and warming stew will have everyone feeling cosy and satisfied.
- Kids love polenta - Look, I can't guarantee that all kids love polenta, but a lot of kids do. It’s a bit of a sleeper hit for kids. And I’ll tell you why. It's basically corn and milk. So if your child likes corn and they like milk, then they’ll like polenta.
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
Chicken Cacciatore is a rich tomato based stew or casserole that was traditionally an Italian Hunter’s stew, created to nourish exhausted hunters after a long day. It’s made with chicken, capsicums (bell peppers), mushrooms and parsley, in a red wine and tomato stew. It uses thyme and oregano as aromatics, and I like to add kalamata olives at the end.
Chicken Cacciatore is perfect served over creamy polenta (like in this recipe), or with rice, crusty bread, or mashed potatoes.
How to make Chicken Cacciatore, quickly
When it’s a weeknight, I don’t have time to slow cook. That's not to say I don't think slow cooking is wonderful, because I really do. On weekends, I’m all for it. You can get really intense flavours when you take the time to slow cook, however it's just not realistic for me, Monday to Friday. This is how I make Chicken Cacciatore in half an hour.
- Use thigh fillet (skin off, boneless) - will cook more quickly than thigh cutlets which come with bone in, and skin on.
- Use a braiser or deep lidded pan like this one from Harris Scarfe. Cooking with a lid on intensifies the heat to cook more efficiently.
- Cleverly use spices and sauces to add depth of flavour. In this recipe I use onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste to add that earthy, umami flavour.
This is how easy it is to make Chicken Cacciatore
- Season chicken thigh fillets, while heating up a pan. Once it's hot add chicken and then cook for 4 minutes on each side.
- While your chicken is cooking, prepare your vegetables.
- Remove chicken from the pan, then add red wine to deglaze the pan, then add vegetables and herbs and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Nestle the chicken back into the sauce, cover with a lid and cook on medium high for 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook polenta (use a whisk to keep it smooth).
The rich chicken is balanced by the acid in the red wine, capsicum and tomatoes (which also does the job of deglazing and cleaning your pan).
Tip for Chicken Cacciatore
If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute chicken broth instead.
- Alternative proteins - You can use chicken breast if you prefer.
- Vegetarian - Swap chicken for more mushrooms - use a variety.
- Dairy Free - Use dairy free milk in the polenta, or make with water and olive oil.
- Gluten Free - Make sure you use GF Worcestershire sauce.
- Serve kids polenta and chicken slices, and slices of capsicum (if you reserved it earlier).
- Skip the parsley and olives.
You will need a deep lidded frying pan, a stovetop, a saucepan.
More Pasta Recipes
Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- Deep lidded frying pan
- 600 g chicken thigh fillets skin off, boneless
- 2 teaspoon salt and pepper 1 tablespoon total for the recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil 3 tablespoon total for the recipe
- 1 red capsicum red bell pepper
- 1 green capsicum green bell pepper
- ½ bunch parsley
- 200 g white mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 800 g crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper 1 tablespoon total for the recipe
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper 1 tablespoon total for the recipe
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives
- 2 teaspoon olive oil 3 tablespoon total for the recipe
- 1 pinch salt and pepper 1 tablespoon total for the recipe
- Season chicken thigh fillets generously with salt and pepper on both sides.600 g chicken thigh fillets, 2 teaspoon salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a deep lidded frying pan on high heat. Once hot, add chicken. Cook for 4 mins on one side. Meanwhile, chop capsicum into 2 cm pieces and chop parsley. Option to place capsicum on your child’s plate now.600 g chicken thigh fillets, 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 red capsicum, 1 green capsicum, ½ bunch parsley
- Turn chicken and cook for another 4 mins. Meanwhile, quarter mushrooms and mince garlic.200 g white mushrooms, 4 cloves garlic
- Remove chicken from the pan, then add red wine, capsicum, mushroom, most of the parsley (reserve some for garnish), garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook, stirring regularly for 5 mins to reduce wine.1 red capsicum, 1 green capsicum, 200 g white mushrooms, 4 cloves garlic, 1 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder and salt and pepper (opt.). Mix, then nestle chicken into the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-high for 12 mins.800 g crushed tomatoes, ¼ cup tomato paste, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Meanwhile, heat milk and water in a saucepan, then add polenta and cook, stirring until it thickens (about 6-8 mins). Season to taste.1 cup polenta, 2 cups milk, 2 cups water, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Serve kids polenta and chicken slices, and capsicum (if you reserved it earlier).Serve adults polenta topped with chicken cacciatore, kalamata olives, remaining parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.⅓ cup kalamata olives, 2 teaspoon olive oil, 1 pinch salt and pepper