Chicken cacciatore is an easy recipe to cook because once you have marinated and browned the meat, you just need to leave it in the oven to cook for 1.5 hours. Therefore, this may be best cooked on a weekend. It is also adaptable to whatever pieces of chicken you have available such as legs, thighs or drumsticks. Cacciatore means ‘hunter’ in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, herbs and sometimes wine.
I used red wine in this recipe but if you don’t drink alcohol then just leave it out. Some research has shown that the resveratrol, a key ingredient in red wine, helps to prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and prevents blood clots. It’s a super antioxidant, able to combat cancel and reduce signs of aging. There are lots of benefits but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start drinking red wine / alcohol so. feel free to leave out.
Serves 4 people
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
- 1 whole free range & organic chicken (approx 2kg), jointed or use equivalent amount of chicken pieces
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 bay leaves
- Small handful of fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves of garlic, 2 crushed & 2 sliced
- 1/4 bottle of red wine – I used Merlot (optional)
- Grass fed unsalted butter for cooking
- 8-10 green pitted olives in brine
- 6 anchovy fillets in olive oil
- 2 x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed garlic (x3) and pour over the wine (optional). Leave to marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
2. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Heat some butter in a large frying pan, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over (approx 10 minutes) and put to one side.
3. Place the frying pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil (approx 5 minutes). Then pour all of the chhicken mixture and fat onto a large baking tray. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1.5 hours. Remember to set a timer.
4. Add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Enjoy served with a salad.
Recipe by Lorraine Biddle